Exploring teachers’ practices in teaching Mathematics and Statistics in KwaZulu-Natal schools
Teaching approaches and assessment practices are key factors that contribute to the improvement of learner outcomes. The study on which this article is based, explored the methods used by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) teachers in teaching and assessing mathematics and statistics. An instrument containing closed and open-ended questions was distributed to seventy-five KZN mathematics teachers from Grade Four upwards. Teachers were encouraged to write freely about the different teaching methods and assessments that they used in the classroom. The findings revealed that teachers were more likely to report a single method in teaching statistics, but more than one method for teaching mathematics topics. In terms of assessments, the teachers generally reported the use of a single method. We also found that teachers mostly focus on teacher-led instructional methods and formal assessments. Furthermore, the findings revealed that teachers’ demographic factors such as gender, age, teaching experience, participation in professional development course and further studies are associated with the choice of a variety of teaching and assessment methods. It is recommended that professional development courses ought to focus on helping teachers to increase their repertoire of teaching and assessment strategies.
Keywords: assessment methods; demographic factors; teaching mathematics and statistics; teaching methods