An investigation into strategies for teaching numeracy skills in primary schools in Chipata, Zambia

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Mwanamonga, Saidi
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University of Zambia
Numeracy has been given prominence in most educational policy and curriculum documents in Zambia. There have been several interventions aimed at improving the quality of education in general and numeracy skills in particular. Nonetheless, several assessments of learning achievement over the last two decades have persistently shown poor levels of numeracy in primary schools in Zambia. This study was conducted with the purpose of investigating strategies for teaching numeracy skills in selected primary schools in Chipata district of Eastern Zambia. The research questions were as follows: (1) what teaching strategies are used to teach numeracy skills in primary schools? (2) In what environment is numeracy taught in primary schools? (3) What are teachers’ perceptions regarding factors influencing numeracy skills among primary school pupils? This was a qualitative research that followed a case study design, in which ‘purposeful sampling’ was used to select a sample of three schools, from which a grade four teacher was selected and ten pupils were picked each time during FGD from each school. Data was collected using interviews with teachers, lesson observations, and focus group discussions with pupils, which was analyzed manually through constant comparative method following Seidel model. The results were that even though teachers made efforts to engage pupils through strategies like ‘question and answer’, ‘group activities’ just to mention a few, teachers predominantly used ‘teacher-centered’ strategies such as ‘demonstrations’ and ‘exposition’. Generally, the Zambian government and its co-operating partners are trying to improve the infrastructure outlook and the provision of TLA, but there is a lot needed to be done in order to inspire confidence in pupils. Lastly, among all factors influencing teaching and learning of numeracy skills is ‘language’. Again the education providers are working towards the improvement of provision of necessary books in local languages for teaching numeracy skills. The researcher is hopeful that these findings will help education providers to look into ways of enhancing the teaching of numeracy skills in primary schools. This could be done through regular school in-service activities through the already existing structures such as the INSET programs.
Master of Education in Primary Education
Numeracy--Study and teaching (Primary) , Number concept in children.