oa Journal for New Generation Sciences - The professional development of mathematics and science teachers : insights gained from an action research project

Volume 16 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1684-4998



This article demonstrates how the professional development of teachers in key subjects such as Mathematics and Science can be facilitated by means of action research in consideration of relevant learning theories. Since South Africa is faced with a shortage of qualified teachers in Mathematics and Science, the aim of this particular study was to promote the teachers' professional development at a selected primary school. The theories of socio-constructivist and situated learning were used as conceptual framework. The sample involved 14 teachers of one school who participated in the three-year study. The project implemented a three-stage model which involved a subject Community of Practice (CoP), and thereafter a grade CoP, before it was individualised for implementation by each teacher. Three different grade groups completed between two and six action research cycles involving about 30 meetings each. Programme evaluation was by means of observation, typed minutes, focus groups, individual interviews, teachers' files and learners' books and achievements. The results illustrate the professional development of these teachers by means of this model of action research which could be useful to secondary schools and higher education institutions, as well as to practitioners in other fields.

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