Original Research

Grade R educators voluntarily share their mathematics practices: Authentic realities in South Africa showcased

Faith Tlou, Nosisi N. Feza
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 7, No 1 | a468 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v7i1.468 | © 2017 Faith Tlou, Nosisi N. Feza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2016 | Published: 12 December 2017

About the author(s)

Faith Tlou, Institute of Science and Technology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Nosisi N. Feza, Institute of Science and Technology, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

In South Africa’s reception classes (Grade R), the harsh reality is that the sector is beset by serious challenges. As part of a broader professional development study, this article focuses on the actual operations of Grade R educators as they conduct mathematics lessons using video technology to record their teaching. An observation tool adapted from Clements and Sarama is used to determine the quality of mathematics instruction, and to provide recommendations for bridging the gaps observed. Fourteen Grade R classes were video-recorded as part of the bigger project, with the educators themselves selecting three lessons per class to showcase their practices. For this article, the authors employed a qualitative approach guided by Vygotsky’s conceptual development of knowledge theory. A thematic analysis was conducted, mediated by the lesson observation instrument. The findings indicate that Grade R educators lack structure and purpose in their instructional activities. Even when sound content knowledge is demonstrated, the instruction tends to be teacher-centred.


Keywords

demonstration-mediation

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