Practitioners’ use of conceptions of mathematical knowledge to enhance early mathematics: A qualitative research approach

Neliswa Gqoli 1, Chinedu I. O. Okeke 2, Christian S. Ugwuanyi 2 *
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1 Department of Adult, Foundation Phase and Educational Foundations Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, SOUTH AFRICA
2 Department of Education Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, SOUTH AFRICA
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp. 123-131. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/12482
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ABSTRACT

Empirical evidence has shown that children’s mathematics achievement in South African has been on the low trend. However, no study has explored the practitioners’ application of conceptions of mathematical knowledge in enhancing learners’ achievement in mathematics. The study examined how practitioners apply mathematical knowledge to enhance early learning of mathematics. In this study, a qualitative research methodology was employed. The study also looked into how teachers in rural early childhood development (ECD) centers use their ideas of mathematical knowledge to foster young children’s early mathematics learning in these environments. The researchers’ investigation into the mathematical expertise held by practitioners and how they apply it in ECD contexts was made possible by mathematical knowledge for teachers theoretical framework, which served as the study’s foundation. In order to help interpret the facts, the study was also set within an interpretivist paradigm. Five practitioners were chosen using a purposive sampling technique from the five ECD centers used for the study. The data were gathered using semi-structured interview questions and observation schedules. The gathered data were examined using a thematic analysis, which resulted in the formation of themes and sub-themes. The study’s findings showed that because the five ECD centers consistently used conventional methods to teach early mathematics to the children who attended the centers, the practitioners in those centers were deficient in their application of conceptions of mathematical knowledge to enhance early learning of mathematics. The need for equipping practitioners with the knowledge and abilities to teach mathematics (subject and pedagogy) in early childhood is strengthened by this study.

CITATION

Gqoli, N., Okeke, C. I. O., & Ugwuanyi, C. S. (2023). Practitioners’ use of conceptions of mathematical knowledge to enhance early mathematics: A qualitative research approach. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 11(1), 123-131. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/12482

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