Perceptions of pre-service teachers in foundation phase mathematics about their professional development

Kassim, Alimi Yau (2016-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This study investigated 3rd-year pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) professional development (PD) in Foundation Phase Mathematics., The study specifically elicited the PSTs’ perceived improvement in their beliefs, content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), while learning to teach from the teaching expertise of an expert teacher educator (ETE). There is a paucity of research regarding the effects of ETEs’ teaching expertise on the PD of PSTs. A model of teaching expertise comprising eight distinct attributes was identified in the literature, namely: Enthusiasm in teaching; Motivating/stimulating students’ interest and engagement with learning experiences; Positive relationships with students and approachability; Understanding of students’ learning needs and creating a productive learning climate; Humour in teaching; Articulation of subject knowledge expertise; Clarity in lesson presentations/teaching; and Preparations for and organisation of teaching. The effects of the eight attributes of teaching expertise on the PSTs PD were assessed. PSTs’ own assessments of their PD could be considered as important as the formal tests, quizzes, and assignments on which their PD is assessed during their course. A mixed-method research design was used in which the 3rd-year PSTs’ PD was assessed. Data were collected at the beginning (Phase A) and at the end of the 3rd year (Phase B). The purpose was to ascertain the differences between their perceived PD after the first two years (Phase A) and at the end of the 3rd year (Phase B). In Phase A, 71 and 6 PSTs participated in the survey and interviews respectively, while 59 and 5 PSTs participated in Phase B. In both phases, PSTs’ perceived improvement in their beliefs, CK, and PCK and the affordances of those improvements were assessed. In both phases, the same questionnaires and interview protocols were used. Data obtained were analysed separately and finally merged for the interpretation and conclusion of the findings. The findings show that the PSTs in their 3rd year perceived notable improvements in their PD. They perceived significant improvements in overcoming their feelings of incompetence to engage in problem-solving activities; understanding of how to assist learners to make connections between ideas and strategies in solving problems; and understanding of how to access and assess learners’ thinking and comprehension. The PSTs perceived they can select appropriate instructional activities and resources; effectively explain concepts and procedures to learners; implement a problem-centred instructional approach; as well as facilitate learners’ thinking and meaningful understanding of contents. The findings further showed that the ETE’s articulation of subject knowledge expertise and preparations for, and organisation of teaching were the attributes with the most impact on the PSTs’ PD, while humour in teaching had the least. The PSTs’ views suggest that their undergraduate training in mathematics education is effective. The findings seem to differ from the claims that PCK only develops in real classroom settings. The findings support Levin’s (2014: 51) claim that PSTs’ pedagogical beliefs are transformed through observing ETEs. Equally important, the findings argue that a possible turning point for the successful transition of PSTs from learners of mathematics to effective teachers of mathematics is in transforming PSTs’ beliefs.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie het die professionele ontwikkeling (PO) van voorgraadse studente (VGS’e) in Grondslagfase Wiskundeonderwys ondersoek. Die spesifieke fokus was die VGS’e se persepsies van die verbetering in hul oortuigings, vakinhoudskennis van wiskunde (VIK) en die pedagogiese inhoudskennis (PIK) te ontlok terwyl hulle van 'n ekspert onderwyser-opvoeder (EOO) leer om te onderrig. Daar is 'n skaarste van kennis in hierdie spesifieke veld – die effek wat EOO’s op die PD van VGS’e het. 'n Model vir uitgelese onderrigkundigheid wat bestaan uit agt onderskeie eienskappe is in die literatuur geformuleer, naamlik Entoesïasme in onderrig; Motivering/stimulasie van studentebelangstelling en betrokkenheid by leerervaringe; positiewe verhoudings met studente en toeganklikheid; Die verstaan van studente se leerbehoeftes en die skep van 'n kreatiewe leerklimaat; Humor in onderrig; Artikulasie van kundige vakinhoudskennis; Duidelikheid in lesaanbieding en onderrig; en Voorbereiding en onderrigorganisasie. Dit word aanvaar dat die meeste EOO’s hierdie kenmerke besit. Die effek van hierdie agt kenmerke van onderrig-uitnemendheid op die VGS’e se PO is geassesseer. Die selfassessering van VGS’e se eie PO is net so belangrik as die formele toetse, quizzes en werkopdragte wat hul PO gedurende die kursus meet. 'n Literatuurondersoek is gedoen waarmee die PO van VGS’e gedefinieer is. Ter aanvulling van die literatuurondersoek is die gemengde metode navorsingsontwerp gebruik waarin die 3de jaar VGS’e se PO assesseer is. Data is eerstens aan die einde van hul eerste twee jaar van opleiding (Fase A) en tweedens aan die einde van hul 3de jaar (Fase B) van hul BEd studie ingesamel. Die doel was om hul persepsies van hul PO se groei na die eerste twee jaar en dan aan die einde van die derde jaar vas te stel. Dieselfde vraelyste en onderhoudskedules is in albei gevalle gebruik. Die data is geanaliseer en saamgroepeer om die verskille tussen die VGS’e se waargenome PO in Fase A en Fase B te bepaal. Die bevindinge wys dat die VGS’e in hul 3de jaar merkbare verbeterings in hul PO waargeneem het. Hulle beleef dit dat daar betekenisvolle verbeterings in die volgende was: oorwinning oor hul gevoelens van onbevoegdheid om betrokke te raak by probleemoplossing; verstaan van hoe leerders bygestaan word om konneksies te maak tussen idees en strategieë by probleemoplossing; verstaan van hoe om toegang te kry tot en assessering te doen van hul denke en die verstaanproses. Hulle voel hulle kan nou die toepaslike onderrigaktiwiteite en bronne kies; konsepte en prosedures verduidelik om leerders se verstaan te bevorder; 'n probleemgesentreerde onderrigbenadering implementeer; leerders se denke en betekenisvolle verstaan van die inhoud fasiliteer. Die bevindinge wys verder dat die VGS se artikulasie van vakinhoudskennis en kundigheid, en voorbereiding vir en organisasie van onderrig, die twee belangrikste kenmerke is wat 'n impak gemaak het op die VGS’e se PO, terwyl humor in onderrig die minste aanduiding gegee het. Die VGS’e se sieninge beklemtoon dat hul voorgraadse opleiding in wiskundeonderwys daarop gerig is om hulle goed voor te berei vir uitdagings in die wiskundeklaskamer. Hierdie bevindinge wys uitsprake dat PIK net in egte klakamersituasies ontwikkel uit as vals. Inteendeel, dit word wel ontwikkel tydens opleiding van leer om te onderrig. Hierdie bevindinge ondersteun Levin (2014: 51) se aanspraak dat VGS’e se pedagogiese oortuigings getransformeer word deur EOO’s dop te hou. Ewe belangrik is die feit dat die bevindinge argumenteer dat 'n moontlike omdraaipunt vir die suksesvolle oorgang van VGS’e as leerders van wiskunde na effektiewe wiskundeonderwysers geleë is in die transformering van VGS’e se vakoortuigings en persepsies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98695
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