An investigation of lower primary teachers' content knowledge of mathematics in Ohangwena region in Namibia

Haufiku, A. (2009) An investigation of lower primary teachers' content knowledge of mathematics in Ohangwena region in Namibia. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The poor performance in mathematics of learners in schools in Namibia, especially in the grades where learners sit for the national examinations, has been a concern of everybody. Since independence, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with several donor agencies has been aware of the poor performance in mathematics in the country. Several international and local studies have been made in an effort to identify the problems that are hindering learners’ performance in mathematics in Namibia. The findings of some studies that were conducted in the country such as the Southern Africa Consortium Monitoring Education Quality (2004), the Presidential Commission on Education, Culture and Training (1999), and the Mathematics and Science Teachers Extension Program (2002) revealed that the inadequate proficiency of primary teachers in mathematics content could be responsible for learners’ poor performance in mathematics. This study, therefore, is aimed at investigating the mathematical proficiency of lower primary (LP) teachers in Namibia. The study used three instruments to collect data namely, a profile questionnaire – to collect teachers’ demographic data, a proficiency test – to test their proficiency level of mathematics using the content of Grade 4 and 5 learners’ mathematics syllabi and a semi-structured interview schedule – to get views about their own mathematics content knowledge, attitudes towards mathematics as well as problems that hinder effective teaching and learning of mathematics at LP phase. The study was conducted with 30 lower primary teachers from five primary and combined schools in the Ohangwena circuit of the Ohangwena region. The study found out that: (1) the mathematical proficiency of LP teachers is below the Grade 7 Mathematics content. Most teachers are not able to solve the content of mathematics at upper primary (UP) phase. (2) LP education is receiving very little support from the Ministry compared to other phases. (3) There are no workshops or training courses organised for LP teachers. They do not receive enough textbooks and materials, their classrooms are overcrowded and teachers cannot pay attention to individual learners. (4) There is a dire need for LP Head of Departments (HODs) who are specialised at LP; most HODs for LP at schools are not specialised in this area. When it comes to views about future content of mathematics that should be given to LP teachers in Namibia, respondents recommended that future LP teachers should have knowledge of mathematics up to at least Grade 10 but preferably up to Grade 12. They do not want to be restricted to LP mathematics, but would like to have a broader knowledge of mathematics content. This would make them more confident in solving their children’s problems in mathematics. Overall, participants recognised the value of mathematics and the role that it plays in society.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Primary teachers; Mathematics; Namibia
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Schafer, M. (Prof.)
ID Code:1588
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:05 Feb 2010 14:36
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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