Use of constructive social activity models when learning probability in selected secondary schools of Mbala district-Northern province.

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Chikola, Doye
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The University of Zambia
This study was based on, “Use of constructive social activity models when learning Probability in selected secondary schools of Mbala District.” The study focused on the use of observable concrete activity tools (constructive social activity models) attributed to real life practices that call for learner participation and influence learner’s own knowledge construction leading to understanding. The purpose of the study was to explore how learners use constructive social activity models when learning probability concepts as well as the assistance given to them by their teachers in clarifying concepts from the model perspective. The study used a qualitative approach in its data collection and analysis proceedures. The sample size comprised of ten(10) grade eleven(11) learners and two(2) grade 11 teachers who were sampled purposively. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, lesson observations, focus group discussions and document analysis and was analysed thematically. The findings revealed that only the learners in one of the two sampled schools used a dice, coin and marbles as concrete tools although when it came to the aspect of conceptual mathematisation in the ZPD, some concepts were mis-interpreted by both teachers and learners. It was established that teachers were unable to appropriately link the abstract concepts with the constructive social activity models. Moreover, learners were not engaged fully in their own learning by use of concrete tools, teachers did not adequately probe learners in order to determine their prior knowledge on modelling tools and did not correct errors or even allow learners justify their thinking on written tasks. Learners were not given chance to come up with their own modelling tools as it was established by this research study in the sampled schools. Generally, it was concluded that there was no appropriate use of concrete constructive social activity models and even when the dice, coin, and marbles were used, their link to abstract concepts in probability was misinterpreted and the process of learning in one of the two schools was purely abstract without use of any concrete tools. Therefore, it is recommended that, school based continuous professional development activities could be strengthened on the use of constructive social activity models when learning probability concepts for conceptual relevance of learners’ diverse real-life experiences. Keywords: Probability, use, constructive social activity models, learning, conceptual mathematisation, conceptual relevance.
Probability and applied mathematics.