Title

Exploring teachers' perceptions of teacher-students' interactions in inquiry-based mathematics classrooms in lower secondary schools in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award

8-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Teaching and learning mathematics is still considered a difficult task. It is believed that mathematics is based on universal and absolute foundations and the learning of mathematics should involve rules, facts and principles. Moreover, a one-way teaching strategy is being used in the mathematics classroom. Innovative teaching strategies such as, cooperative learning, activity-based learning and investigation are not used often in the mathematics classroom. Similarly, teacher-student interactions highly influence the teaching and learning process but these have not been given much importance while teaching and learning mathematics. Very few studies have been done in the Western countries in this regard but no such study has been conducted in the context of Pakistan. Thus, this study focused on teacher perceptions of teacher-student interactions in the mathematics classroom using inquiry-based teaching. The purpose of the study was to explore the perceptions of lower-secondary level teachers about student-teacher interactions in an inquiry-based mathematics classroom in Karachi, Pakistan. Two teachers - one from a public and the other from a private school - were selected for the study. The differences and similarities of both teachers' perceptions about teacher-student interactions and their teaching and learning practices in the real classroom situation were identified using a comparative case study method. Audio-taped semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, checklists, pre and post-lesson conferences and held notes were used to collect the data. In addition, the students' manner of interaction with the teacher in the classroom during teaching and learning mathematics was closely examined. The data was analyzed as two separate case studies, which presented detailed biographical data about the two teachers, their theoretical frameworks and actual practices, with interpretations and analysis. The synthesis of this study uncovers a number of issues emerging from the analysis of the findings. For instance, the teachers’ attitudes towards teaching and learning mathematics, the impact of professional development opportunities and the nature of self-reflection might play a key role in reshaping the teachers' perceptions which may interest other mathematics teachers, teacher educators, teacher education programmes and research in education in general.

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