Namibian teachers' and learners' attitudes towards the new mathematics promotion requirements for grade 5–9: a qualitative case study
Moses, Ainna Kapango
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Mathematics achievement has received much attention in recent years and results have been presented after examining results from different counties. This contribution deals with the implementation of new Mathematic promotion requirements in Namibia. The research was conducted in Shambyu circuit, Kavango region, within a selected combined public school situated fifteen kilometres from Rundu in the North-Eastern part of Kavango. Teachers and learners in Namibia have not performed well in the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) projects, especially in Mathematics. The implementation of new promotion requirements was inevitable for improving achievement levels. The main aim of this study is to document the attitudes of teachers and learners towards the introduction of the new 2010 Mathematics promotion requirements. The complexity and the nature of attitudes are illustrated and some of the characteristics related to teaching and learning of Mathematics in the academic reform are presented. The researcher developed a conceptual framework to compare and contrast the theoretical positions on the topic. Attitude is defined from diverse perspectives, and relationships of attitudes pertaining to achievement to perform in Mathematics are argued. A qualitative case study was the preferred method of choice. The participants were sampled according to a non-probability purposive sampling strategy. Five teachers, six grade 7 and six grade 9 learners participated in the study. The participants were interviewed to gain insight into how they formulated their attitudes towards the implementation of the academic reform. Focus group interviews were captured though audio recordings. Patterns, themes and categories emerged from the data analysis, suggesting that teachers and learners demonstrate positive and negative attitudes which affect their stance towards the new promotion requirements. Research findings were compared with the relevant literature to identify strengths and weaknesses as extracted from the attitudes of the participating teachers and learners which confirm that attitudes of teachers and learners interrelate and affect teaching and learning of Mathematics. Strengths and weaknesses extracted from the attitudes of the teachers relate to teaching strategies, pedagogical content knowledge and practical application of the subject. A weakness of the policy change is that the Ministry of Education does not sustain involvement. Teachers need support through workshops to increase their pedagogical content knowledge and gain more information about the implementation of the new policy. Furthermore teachers expect educational support from the Ministry of Education through the provision of textbooks and teaching aids. Collaboration between teachers is crucial, as is the significance thereof for developing pedagogical content knowledge for the implementation of the new Mathematical policy. Strengths and weaknesses extracted from attitudes as viewed by learners in grade 9 are more related to their opinions about the teachers, their motivation and academic achievements. Learners’ natural Mathematics skills should be developed to instill feelings of accomplishment. Grade 9 learners experience fear and insecurity in Mathematics because learners experience teachers as too strict, owing to the absence of pedagogical content knowledge. The grade 9 learners distinguish the importance of ICT use in Mathematics as part of a process to prepare them towards greater goals and practical application as a strength. Both advantages and disadvantages of beliefs regarding Mathematics amongst the teachers and the learners guide grade 7 learner towards achievement. Further expectations drive the grade 7 learners towards achievement in order to increase career opportunities and level of schooling. In conclusion the in-depth qualitative exploration is summarized in order to investigate the phenomenon of attitudes towards Mathematics and academic reform.
- Education