Exploring teachers’ use of visualisation tools when teaching Grade 9 problem-solving in mathematics. a case of Umlazi District Dinaledi schools in South Africa.
Shoba, Makhosazana Faith.
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This study focused on exploring Grade 9 mathematics teachers’ use of visualisation tools when teaching problem-solving in their classrooms. This issue has been a challenge in South Africa, particularly in matric and grade 9 mathematics Annual National Assessment. The use of visualisation when teaching problem-solving in the mathematics classroom has been viewed as critical to learner’s performance, in response to the abstract nature of mathematics. However, problem-solving and the importance of the use of visualisation is emphasised in the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement for the Senior Phase. Moreover, it is also included in every topic of the learners’ Grade 9 mathematics workbook for everyday classroom activities. Therefore, this study aimed to answer the questions of what visualisation tools teachers use and how they use these when teaching problem-solving. Lastly, why do they use them during their lesson in their classroom? Polya’s 4-step problem-solving and Activity theory was used as a theoretical framework for this study. A qualitative case study of two Dinaledi Comprehensive Technical High School in Umlazi District was conducted to explore the use of visual tools by five grade 9 mathematics teachers during their teaching of problem solving. Teacher’s questionnaire, classroom observations, and semi-structured interviews for teachers were used to generate data. The findings revealed that mathematics teachers do teach problem solving in their Grade 9 classrooms as stated by the policy document. However, the use of visualisation tools in the mathematics classroom seems to be infrequent. Therefore, the teachers highlighted the lack of resources and understanding of what problem-solving is, as a challenge to their use of visualisation tools. However, the study suggested that the department of Kwa-Zulu Natal education should provide in-service training for Grade 9 teachers on the effective use of visualisation tools when teaching problem-solving. It was also suggested that schools should provide resources that can enhance problem solving, and mathematically related resources for their mathematics lessons. It was further suggested t schools to have a mathematics classroom, which will provide a mathematics atmosphere with relevant mathematics resources for effective and efficient teaching and learning of mathematics.