Perceptions of heads of departments and mathematics teachers towards teaching and learning of mathematics using problem solving methods in a lesson study cycle
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Mathematics teachers in Zambia are involved in the teaching and learning of mathematics using the problem solving method. The purpose of the study was to find out the perceptions of Heads of Department and Mathematics teachers towards the teaching and learning of Mathematics using Problem Solving Method in a Lesson Study cycle. The objectives of the study were to; find out to what extent and how teachers are using Problem Solving method in the teaching and learning of mathematics, determine the Heads of Department and mathematics teachers' understanding of Problem Solving Method in a mathematics lesson and assess the extent to which the Problem Solving Method is monitored by the Heads of Department. The study was guided by Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development theory. Qualitative research design was used in the study following the case study approach in which lesson observations and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. Two Heads of Department and two mathematics teachers from two secondary schools participated in the study in Siavonga district; one from each school. Teachers were observed teaching lessons and were later interviewed while the Heads of Department were only interviewed. Thematic approach was used to analyze the data and the findings brought out key issues in the implementation, understanding and monitoring of the problem solving method in terms of; arousal for attention, key question, synthesizing, sharing lesson objectives, pupil self-regulation, lesson evaluation, group work, teaching learning materials, importance of learners' thinking activities, heart of mathematics, engage deeper understanding of mathematical ideas, teacher competence, critical thinking, Continuing Professional Development, feedback, effective communication and effective monitoring. The findings showed that teachers and Heads of Department are familiar with the problem solving method. However, the findings showed that there were no opportunities given to the pupils to share their different or similar ideas even in group work. The study recommended that Continuing Professional Development requires to be further re-enforced as a policy for the teachers and the main features of the learner-centred methodologies to be taught at colleges of education and universities in the area of mathematics as a policy. The Heads of Department need to take a leading role in the guidance on the use of the problem solving method and teachers need to engage more on Continuing Professional Development meetings concentrating on the vital stages of the problem solving method through peer lesson observation Further research is required for the teachers to understand the role of questions and key questions in the use of the problem solving method.
University of Zambia
Master of Education in Educational Management