An investigation into the use of traditional Xhosa dance to teach mathematics : a case study in a Grade 7 class

Mbusi, Nokwanda Princess (2012) An investigation into the use of traditional Xhosa dance to teach mathematics : a case study in a Grade 7 class. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This study seeks to explore mathematical concepts embedded in traditional Xhosa dance and how these concepts can be incorporated into a learning programme for the teaching and learning of mathematics. The study seeks to gain insight into whether learners could benefit from the implementation of such a learning programme. Learners from a Grade 7 class in a rural school performed traditional Xhosa dances and their performances were captured through video recording. The video recordings were then observed and analysed to determine the mathematical concepts embedded in the dances. These concepts were then linked to those found in the Grade 7 mathematics curriculum. A learning programme integrating mathematical concepts from the dance activities with mathematical concepts from the Grade 7 curriculum was then designed. The learning programme contained mathematical problem solving activities that required learners to re-enact the dance performances in order to find the required solutions. The learning programme was then implemented with the learners over a period of three weeks. During the implementation, learners’ behaviour towards the learning experience was observed, their engagement with the problem solving activities as well as their strategies for solving the problems, were carefully observed. Also, their interactions with each other were noted. After the implementation of the learning programme, focus group interviews were held with learners to determine their opinions, attitudes and feelings about their experience of learning mathematics through traditional Xhosa dance. Key findings indicated that traditional Xhosa dance can be used as a medium for learning many concepts in the mathematics curriculum; the use of the dance gave learners an opportunity to learn mathematics from a familiar context and to participate actively and collaboratively in their learning. Also, it emerged that the use of dance to teach mathematics had potential to help improve learners’ attitudes towards mathematics. Conclusions were reached that the dance had potential for use as a means for the meaningful learning of mathematics. However, limitations and challenges with the study were identified, such as its limited replicability in other mathematics classrooms.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Education, Mathematics, Learning, Programme, Teaching, Learners, Traditional Xhosa dance, Rural school, Mathematical concepts, Limitations, Challenges
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Schäfer, Marc
ID Code:3119
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:12 Jul 2012 05:58
Last Modified:12 Jul 2012 05:58
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