Transforming Mathematical Discourse: A Daunting Task for South Africa’s Townships
Keywords:Mathematics teacher transformation, mathematics classroom discourse, beliefs and practices, teaching and learning mathematics
AbstractIn this study, the authors describe the voices and practices of four mathematics teachers in a K–7 “Coloured” township school in the context of the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The authors begin with an explanation of the context of the township in terms of its history, languages, diversity, educational system, and mathematics education. Through observing and describing four mathematics classroom discourses, two from the Foundation Phase and two from the Intermediate Phase, the authors illustrate the relationship between the participating teachers’ voices and practices within their socio-cultural and socio-historical context. Additionally, the authors describe the complexity of transforming mathematics education and suggest that implementing the Revised National Curriculum Statement requires an epistemological shift in perspective regarding teaching and learning that promotes mathematical understanding. The authors’ analyses show the importance of transforming mathematics education and the responsibility of higher education institutions in the preparation of future teachers compatible with the new societal demand.
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