n Pythagoras - A teacher's engagement with learner errors in her Grade 9 mathematics classroom : original research

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-2346
  • E-ISSN: 2223-7895



How errors are dealt with in a mathematics classroom is important as it can either support or deny learner access to mathematical knowledge. This study examines how a teacher, who participated in a professional development programme that focused on learner errors, engaged with mathematical errors in her Grade 9 classroom. Data were collected over a two-year period in the form of videotapes and were analysed qualitatively. Our findings illustrate that this teacher dealt with four types of mistakes: slips, errors derived from misconceptions, language-related errors and errors that occurred from the incorrect usage of the calculator. She dealt with these by correcting, probing or embracing them. We found that, over time, this teacher dealt with more errors and corrected and embraced errors in different ways. We recommend that teachers use their professional knowledge to decide when, why and how it is appropriate to correct, probe or embrace errors in light of their knowledge of the content and their learners.

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