Exploring foundation phase teachers' use of instructional strategies to teach data handling.
Mkhabela, Nokuphiwa Delisile.
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Statistics plays a more prominent role within mathematics curricula globally it did a few years ago. Data handling is one of the sections in mathematics that is taught from the foundation phase up until the Further Education and Training (FET) phase. Data handling is considered as the easiest section, but the Annual National Assessment (ANA) (Department of Basic Education, 2012, 2014) reveals that learners are not performing well in it. This study therefore seeks to examine how data handling is taught in foundation phase classrooms. The purpose of this study was to explore foundation phase teachers’ use of instructional strategies to teach data handling. The theory of social constructivism informed this research study, which indicates the usefulness of this theoretical framework in collaboration and interaction while learners construct knowledge. Data on the instructional strategies used by foundation phase teachers to teach data handling were obtained using the case study approach. The analysis and the subsequent results were based largely on the participants’ responses to a teacher questionnaire, lesson observation transcripts and transcribed interviews with eight participants from seven different primary schools. The findings of this study were that the participants used different instructional strategies when teaching data handling and memorisation was the dominant strategy. The findings of this study may be of benefit to curriculum developers for professional development. This in turn may help learners to perform well in data handling; since data handling is part of mathematics, it may also improve results in this subject. If the results are improved then that may lead to economic growth of the country, because learners would be able to access those jobs that need mathematics skills. Since this research study focused on foundation phase, this study may be extended to instructional strategies used to teach data handling in other grades.