An investigation into the use of spreadsheet algebra programmes (SAPS) to influence teacher change in selected township high schools

Dumisani Emmanuel, Mdlalose (2017-03)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2017

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This study investigates possible teacher change after the use of Spreadsheet Algebra Programmes (SAPs) in Excel on functions, a ‘new form of teaching and learning’ in two township high schools from interrelated areas/perspectives, namely: (a) possible changes in teachers’ classroom practices, and (b) possible changes in teachers’ beliefs. The study was purposely designed such that the entire population (𝑛=10), 6 male and 4 female drawn from the two schools, complete the teachers’ beliefs questionnaire to code and analyze teachers’ beliefs. There were two respondents, 1 female and 1 male, herein referred to as Teacher A (grade 11) and Teacher B (grade 10), who were interviewed on their practice after an observed lesson on functions. Both would later be part of the ten that would complete the questionnaire. SAPs were prepared for teachers to explore or ‘open up’ the concept of functions. Teachers were orientated on the use of SAPs beforehand and had an option either to use the SAPs material or prepare their own material on functions in grade 10 and grade 11. Interviews were captured on video, transcribed and analysed for presentation of conclusions and results. In combination with the theoretical framework, these techniques provide an approach to analyze data and re-describe teacher change. The analysis traces the development over the course of one lesson observed in each school and highlights the importance of teachers’ beliefs. Notable changes of teacher beliefs and classroom practices were found. It can be discerned that the use of SAPs can save teaching time and assist in re-conceptualisation of functions in high school owing to institutionalization of mathematics and the curriculum. A teaching approach to elicit better understanding of functions in high schools was developed as a contribution to the new body of knowledge. After the use of the SAPs with the two teachers, it became evident that a turnaround teacher development plan is necessary to address issues related to professional support.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie poog om lig te werp op die onderprestasie binne “township” hoërskole spesifiek gekies vir fokus van hierdie studie. Die studie fokus op die invloed van Sigblad (spreadsheets) Algebra Programme (SAP) in ‘Excel’ op funksies tot die skepping van “ʼn nuwe vorm van onderrig en leer”. Dit (die studie) ondersoek spesifiek moontlike onderwyser veranderinge na die gebruik van die SAP in twee “township” hoërskole vanuit interafhanklik gebiede / perspektiewe, naamlik: (a) moontlike veranderinge in onderwysers se klaskamerpraktyke en (b) moontlike veranderinge in onderwysers se oortuigings ten opsigte van tegnologiese integrasie om resultate te verbeter. Daar was twee respondente, een (1) vrou en een (1) man, waarna in die studie verwys word as Onderwyser A (graad 11) en Onderwyser B (graad 10), met wie onderhoude gevoer is oor hul praktyke na afloop van ʼn les oor funksies wat waargeneem is. Beide word later deel van die tien wie die vraelyste voltooi. Die studie is doelgerig ontwerp sodat die hele populasie (𝑛=10), 6 manlike en 4 vroulike deelnemers gekies uit die twee skole, om voltooide onderwysersoortuigings vraelyste oor die oortuigings van die onderwysers te kodeer en te analiseer. SAP is vir onderwysers voorberei om die konsep van funksies te verken of te ‘ontsluit’. Onderwysers is vooraf georiënteer in die gebruik van SAP en is die opsie gebied om óf die SAP materiaal te gebruik of om hul eie materiaal oor funksies vir graad 10 en graad 11 voor te berei. Die onderhoude is op video vasgelê, getranskribeer en geanaliseer vir die aanbieding van die gevolgtrekkings en resultate. In kombinasie met die teoretiese raamwerk, bied hierdie tegnieke ʼn benadering om data te ontleed en te herbeskryf omtrent onderwyser verandering. Die analise ondersoek die ontwikkeling van onderwysers se oortuigings in die loop van ʼn les waargeneem in elke skool en beklemtoon die belangrikheid daarvan. Noemenswaardige veranderinge van onderwyser se oortuigings en klaskamerpraktyke gevind. Dit kan beoordeel word dat die gebruik van die SAP onderrigtyd kan bespaar en help in die herkonseptualisering van funksies in die hoërskool as gevolg van die institusionalisering van wiskunde en die kurrikulum. ʼn Onderrigbenadering om beter begrip van funksies in hoërskole te ontlok is ontwikkel as ʼn bydrae tot die nuwe liggaam van kennis. Na die gebruik van die SAP met die twee onderwysers, het dit duidelik geword dat dit ʼn ommekeer in die onderwyser ontwikkelingsplan is wat nodig is om kwessies wat verband hou met professionele ondersteuning aan te spreek.

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