Original Research

Online supplementary mathematics tuition in a first-year childhood teacher education programme

Kathleen Fonseca, Nadine Petersen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 5, No 3 | a375 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i3.375 | © 2016 Kathleen Fonseca, Nadine Petersen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 November 2015 | Published: 06 February 2016

About the author(s)

Kathleen Fonseca, Department of Childhood Education University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nadine Petersen, Department of Childhood Education University of Johannesburg, South Africa


This study reports on an intervention that was aimed at improving the content knowledge of first-year intermediate-phase education students at a South African university. The study gives some insight into preservice teachers’ perceptions of an online programme for the development of mathematics common content knowledge for teachers of mathematics in the intermediate grades. The effectiveness of the intervention programme was analysed according to Shapiro’s evaluation criteria for intervention research. The findings show that there has been a positive shift in preservice teachers’ common content knowledge but that there is much room for further development. The student teachers found the programme to be of great benefit with regard to the development of their mathematics knowledge as well as their confidence as future teachers of mathematics. The findings highlighted their disturbingly limited knowledge of mathematics content knowledge and pointed to the responsibility of teacher education departments at universities to implement sufficient maths content courses that will address the status quo of poor mathematics teaching in South African primary schools. The authors conclude that the students need to spend much more time on ‘catching up’ before they become teachers.


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