Exploring the practices of teachers in mathematical literacy training programmes in South Africa and Canada
Fransman, Johanna Sandra
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The implementation of Mathematical Literacy as subject in the South African school curriculum in 2006 necessitated the re-training of suitable teachers to teach the new subject. Can we as developers of Mathematical Literacy teacher training programmes in South Africa, learn from teacher training programmes for similar subjects in Canada? This was the driving question behind the study with its emphasis on the experiences of in-service and pre-service teachers registered in mathematical literacy training programmes at the North-West University in South Africa and Brock University in Canada. The Advanced Certificate in Education (Mathematical Literacy) programme is presented on a part-time basis by the School of Continuing Teacher Education at the North-West University while the Intermediate/Senior teacher education programme is delivered full-time at Brock University. The literature review focuses on mathematical literacy, the training of the teachers and the methodological implications of teaching of mathematical literacy subjects and courses. The study can be seen as a multiple case study due to its dual contexts: The South African population comprises of 189 in-service teachers and the Canadian context consists of 30 pre-service teachers. Qualitative data was collected via questionnaires collected from 61 South African participants and 12 Canadian participants, five focus group discussions; six individual interviews and three lesson observations. The data was analysed using ATLAS.ti.5.0 -a computer-aided system used for the analysis of qualitative studies. It was found that South African teachers formed a 'new status identity' as Mathematical Literacy teacher. A large difference between the two countries is the strong mathematical background of the Canadian pre-service teachers compared to the poor mathematical background of the South African in-service teachers. It was concluded that South Africa as developing country can indeed learn from Canada in that we should place more emphasis on the mathematics content knowledge of in-service teachers in mathematical literacy teacher education programmes.
- Education 
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