Original Research

Questioning techniques used by Foundation Phase Education students teaching mathematical problem-solving

Gina Steyn, Stanley A. Adendorff
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a564 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.564 | © 2020 Gina Steyn, Stanley A. Adendorff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2017 | Published: 27 February 2020

About the author(s)

Gina Steyn, Foundation Phase Department, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Stanley A. Adendorff, Intermediate Phase Department, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa

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Background: Developing the questioning skills of Foundation Phase Education students when teaching mathematical problem-solving is often a neglected area of student curricula.

Aim: This gap in mathematics programme is the focus of this study. Three main components were identified: presentation of mathematical problem-solving, the role of the Foundation Phase Education student in shared action and the questioning practice of the pre-service teacher.

Setting: This study is embedded in an amalgamated theoretical framework of three theories: relational theory, hermeneutical theory of Davis and the revised taxonomy of Bloom. This qualitative, interpretive study was conducted in a grade 1 class. Seven Foundation Phase pre-service students were purposively selected to participate in the study.

Methods: Triangulation of a multitude of research instruments ensured verification of data. The case study consisted mainly of the observation and analysis of six lessons. The framework of Tesch was used to interpret the data.

Results: An outcome of the case study is a concise description of the use of questioning when teaching mathematical problem solving. Students in the selected sample generally struggled to ask questions and expressed the need for skills training.

Conclusion: The student participants seemed unsure of how to use questioning skills optimally to elicit useful responses from their learners. Recommendations are made for enabling Foundation Phase students to learn the necessary skills to ask questions effectively in the problem solving segment of the curriculum.


Foundation Phase; mathematical problem-solving; questioning skills; pre-service teacher education; questioning practice; stimulating questions


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doi: 10.4102/sajce.v11i1.700