An investigation into the experiences of teachers using the Singapore mathematics curriculum in South Africa

Keth, Beverley Dawn (2012) An investigation into the experiences of teachers using the Singapore mathematics curriculum in South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The purpose of this case study was to investigate the experience of six Foundation Phase teachers implementing the Singapore Mathematics Curriculum (SMC). The study makes use of Kilpatrick, Findell & Swafford‟s (2001) framework for teaching for mathematical proficiency as a conceptual lens to analyse teaching practice in the classroom. The study took place in two schools currently implementing the SMC in East London, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This qualitative study was framed within an interpretive paradigm. It relies on data collected in semistructured interviews, individual questionnaires, focus group interviews, journals and presentations. In general, the SMC was well received, and the participating teachers isolated the following as particularly positive features of their experience: - The teachers and students were enjoying the discovery of mathematics using a variety of manipulatives as stipulated when using the SMC; - The use of the model method, a specific feature of the SMC, to solve problems helped students visualise the problem; - The teachers‟ understanding of teaching for mathematical proficiency was enhanced; - The spiral curriculum informed teaching practice by allowing for building on to concepts already mastered, creating a logical flow of ideas and careful progression; - Whilst the SMC provides a more structured approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics, it provides constant opportunities for creativity and logical thinking; and - The change in attitude of both students and teachers has resulted in a greater confidence when non-routine, openended problem solving activities are engaged in. From a critical perspective the participants found the following problematic when implementing the SMC: - The teachers felt that there was insufficient drill and practice once the concept was understood. More practice and exercises were called for; - The whole class teaching approach with every student having a textbook and workbook pertaining to the lesson required a change to classroom management; and - To obtain a deeper understanding of number concepts was time consuming and re-teaching the weaker students called for additional time and adjustments to the timetable.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Teachers, Foundation Phase, Singapore Mathematics Curriculum, SMC, Mathematical profiency, Teaching practice, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Curriculum, Concepts
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Schäfer, Marc
ID Code:3050
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:27 Jun 2012 12:08
Last Modified:27 Jun 2012 12:08
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