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South African Journal of Education

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Teacher classroom practices and Mathematics performance in South African schools: A reflection on TIMSS 2011

Fabian Arends, Lolita Winnaar, Mogege Mosimege

Abstract


Teachers play an important role in the provision of quality education. The variety of classroom practices they use in interacting with learners play a critical role in the understanding of mathematical concepts and overall performance in Mathematics. Following the work done by Hattie (2009, 2012) in relation to classroom practices this study investigated the association between learner achievement and selected teacher classroom practices. The Mathematics teacher questionnaire, administered as part of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011, comprised questions pertaining to the classroom practices of Teacher Clarity, Classroom Discussion, Feedback, Formative Assessment, Problem Solving and Metacognitive Strategies, and Collaboration. The results showed a positive association between teachers’ high endorsement of the selected classroom practices and learner performance. The study also investigated how collaboration between Mathematics teachers affected learner performance. The analysis shows that teachers observing each other’s lessons affected the learners’ performance positively, although most teachers were not keen on collaboration with their peers. This study showed that various teacher classroom practices affect learner performance in Mathematics significantly and that these practices should be identified and mechanisms put in place to support teachers in terms of these practices.

Keywords: hierarchical linear modeling; Mathematics performance; teacher classroom practice; TIMSS




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