Mathematics teachers’ pedagogical practices for learners’ proficiency in algebraic concepts: a case of selected secondary schools in Livingstone district, Zambia.

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Malubila, Stanslous
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The University of Zambia
This was a qualitative case study which investigated mathematics teachers’ pedagogical practices in the context of learners’ mathematical proficiency with a focus on selected algebraic concepts. Three secondary schools were purposively selected as well as four mathematics teachers who participated in the study. Further, six learners were purposively selected from each of the four teachers’ classes giving a total of twenty-four learners. Observation and semi-structured interview schedules were used to collect data preceded by document analysis of lesson plans, schemes of work and records of work. Data from observation and documents were analysed using a rubric by Christiansen and Ally relating to mathematical proficiency while data from interviews was analysed thematically. The findings were that most of the mathematics teachers did not adequately prepare for learners’ proficiency in line with the strands for mathematical proficiency espoused by Kilpatrick, Swafford, and Findell (2002). Most predominant among the practices of teachers were aspects of revising prerequisite topics and giving the standard definition of concepts. While these were necessary, they did not adequately provide for learners’ mathematical proficiency. Learners had challenges to solve quadratic equations using completing the square method and solving questions that involved real life situations. It would appear that they lacked conceptual understanding. It is recommended that Senior Education Standards Officers should routinely organise Continuous Professional Development (CPD) trainings to empower mathematics teachers with adequate knowledge on how to teach algebra, especially the topics like ’Quadratic Functions and Equations’ and how to effectively use visual teaching aids. Through CPD trainings, mathematics teachers should be enlightened on the disadvantages of their learners using the pseudo-methods when solving equations.
Thesis of Master of Education in Mathematics Education.