About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3130-3138
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain

MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR CTPD AND THE LEARNER-CENTEREDNESS OF THEIR TEACHING PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY OF A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE IN A SOUTH AFRICAN PROVINCE

M. Ndlovu

Stellenbosch University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Background:
South Africa is a developing country whose education system is experiencing a transformation constrained by a legacy of apartheid. The latest TIMSS results confirm the uneven distribution of achievement in mathematics and science (Martin et al 2012; Mullis et al 2012). References to the mathematics (and science) education crisis are thus commonplace rhetoric in SA (Ndlovu & Mji 2012). Moreover the many teachers are unfamiliar with learner-centred pedagogies espoused in the curriculum. CTPD in subject matter knowledge (SMK) and learner-centred pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is acknowledged to be a viable solution. However, for it to be relevant, CTPD must be constantly informed by teacher needs and perceptions of self-efficacy.

Aims:
This study sought to compile teachers’ reflections on the effectiveness or otherwise of their in-service training and to seek feedback on how regularly they perceived themselves to be applying learner-centred constructivist pedagogy in their mathematics and science classrooms. The research questions which guided the study included: What were the teachers’ perceptions about their CTPD programme as it related to relevance of the content to the curriculum, the teaching approaches adopted and the timing of the workshop? To what extent did the teachers rate themselves to be applying learner-centred constructivist approaches in their classrooms? What are the solutions they suggest for future workshops?

Methodology:
Eighty-nine teachers attending a CTPD programme in early 2013 were asked to complete reflection journals on a daily basis for the duration of a two-week contact session. The reflection journals, as a participant-observer record of thinking critically and analytically about one’s learning experiences (Brookes University n.d.; Northern Illinois University, n.d.) constituted the qualitative data sources for this study. The same teachers completed a 5-point Likert scale Constructivist Learning Environments Survey (CLES) questionnaire (Taylor et al 1994) to evaluate the frequency with which they perceived themselves to be implementing constructivist teaching and learning approaches in their science and mathematics classrooms. The CLES results constituted a quantitative data source making the study a mixed-methods approach.

Results:
Teacher reflections on the suitability of their in-service showed an awareness of the need for a paradigm shift in the way mathematics and science are taught. They appreciated the usefulness of the workshop in enriching their SMK and PCK and showed a willingness to change their teaching practices to emulate the learner-centred approaches modelled by CTPD facilitators. Questionnaire results showed that teachers perceived their learners to be only moderately interested in learning mathematics and science (a mean of 3.47), to moderately experience their learning as personally relevant to their out-of-school life (mean of 3.61) but showing a rather lacklustre interest in taking responsibility for their own learning (a mean of 2.65). The teachers however felt that their students oftentimes had a critical voice in how they were taught (a mean of 4.16), and oftentimes got the opportunity to interact with other students (a mean of 4.03). They further perceived themselves to be offering high levels of support to learners (a mean of 4.31). A recommendation emanating from this study is to extend the CLES survey to learners’ perspectives for a more complete picture.
@InProceedings{NDLOVU2013MAM,
author = {Ndlovu, M.},
title = {MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR CTPD AND THE LEARNER-CENTEREDNESS OF THEIR TEACHING PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY OF A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE IN A SOUTH AFRICAN PROVINCE},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {3130-3138}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Ndlovu
TI - MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR CTPD AND THE LEARNER-CENTEREDNESS OF THEIR TEACHING PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY OF A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE IN A SOUTH AFRICAN PROVINCE
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 3130
EP - 3138
ER -
M. Ndlovu (2013) MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR CTPD AND THE LEARNER-CENTEREDNESS OF THEIR TEACHING PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY OF A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE IN A SOUTH AFRICAN PROVINCE, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 3130-3138.
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