Original Research-Special Collection: Teaching and learning: mathematics, science, design, technology in the Early Years

What mathematics knowledge for teaching is used by a Grade 2 teacher when teaching counting

Samukeliso Chikiwa, Lise Westaway, Mellony Graven
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 9, No 1 | a567 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.567 | © 2019 Samukeliso Chikiwa, Lise Westaway, Mellony Graven | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2017 | Published: 03 September 2019

About the author(s)

Samukeliso Chikiwa, South African Numeracy Chair Project, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Lise Westaway, Department of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Mellony Graven, South African Numeracy Chair Project, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

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Background: The study on which this article is based investigated the Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching (MKfT) that a well experienced Grade 2 teacher utilized when teaching counting.

Aim: In this paper we share excerpts from one of the lessons of this Grade 2 teacher, which we analyzed to illuminate the various domains of MKfT and their interconnectedness in the teaching of counting.

Setting: The research was conducted in a former Model C school in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Method: Using a case study methodology, 15 Grade 2 mathematics lessons were observed, video recorded and transcribed. Two formal interviews based on two selected video-recorded lessons were conducted to understand this teacher’s practice. The data were analysed using Deborah Ball and colleagues’ MKfT framework.

Results: The study found that Foundation Phase mathematics teaching requires the knowledge and tactful employment of all six knowledge domains as described in the work of Ball and colleagues. The Knowledge of Content and Teaching (KCT) domain, was found to be essential in teaching counting in Grade 2. The other five domains supported and informed the KCT domain.

Conclusion: We suggest from the insights gained here that research examining the MKfT that competent teachers draw on in teaching Foundation Phase mathematics could assist in developing curricula for in-service and pre-service teacher education programs.


Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching; Counting; Number Sense; Mathematics Teaching; Pedagogical Content Knowledge; Teacher Knowledge


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