n South African Journal of Education - Case studies of beliefs of two in-service primary school teachers

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



Within the mathematics teacher education program, a variety of teaching strategies and theories are discussed with the aim of changing the student teachers views about mathematics and its teaching. This study was conducted with two in-service primary school teachers as they progressed through a 4-year degree programme. The purpose of the study was to identify how their views about mathematics and its teaching evolve during the three years leading to their internship assignment. Furthermore, the study was intended to document whether changes in teachers' beliefs accompanied changes in their classroom practices and more importantly, what influenced the teachers to commit to change. Data were collected through class observations, interviews, review of the lesson notes, field notes, and internship books. The results reveal that one participant modified some of his beliefs about mathematics teaching. The changes identified indicated a shift in perception of the teacher as an authority to that of a teacher concerned with initiating a learner-centered process, and using students' knowledge and errors as starting points. The other participant's perceptions of the teacher remained to be of authority; giving explanations, and demonstrations followed by students doing assigned problems. The results, however, reveal that the two participants' beliefs on how to learn mathematics changed from emphasizing algorithms to understanding concepts.

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