Title

Exploring the attempts of a grade V mathematics teacher towards improvement in mathematical tasks' selection and implementation for developing students' conceptual understanding in a private school of Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award

7-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

Classroom experiences play a vital role in developing students' conceptual understanding of mathematics. Therefore, it is essential to engage students in such mathematical tasks in the classroom which provide students opportunities for reasoning, conjecturing, pattern seeking and generlizing in a collaborative learning environment. The National Curriculum of Mathematics (2006) also emphasizes the changing role of teachers from knowledge transformers to facilitators in the student-directed learning process and this cannot be achieved unless teachers are provided professional development to choose and design mathematical tasks for their students which promotes students mathematical reasoning and conceptual understanding. This study explored the ways through which a primary mathematics teacher brought improvement in her selection and implementation of mathematical tasks for developing students' mathematical understanding. The reported study used Collaborative Action Research which comprised four action research cycles using Lewin's model of Action Research that aimed to explore progress in the participant teacher's task selection and implementation. Data for the study were collected from a private school in Karachi Pakistan where I worked with one mathematics teacher for more than two months. Data collection tools included classroom observations, semi structured interviews, reflections/reflective sessions and students' sample work. The findings of the study demonstrated that the factors resulting in improvement of teacher's task selection and implementation includes the facilitation by the mentor teacher, enhancement in one's own content and pedagogies knowledge and development of a teacher's understanding of students' cognitive level. The findings of the study also revealed that the common factors influencing the selection of mathematics tasks comprised shortage of time, obligation of syllabus coverage, level of students' understanding, students' prior knowledge and teacher's belief about mathematics. This study also highlighted the residing factors influencing the implementation of rich mathematical task which include the nature of the selected task, its alignment with students' prior knowledge, amount of time provided to students and mainly the role of the teacher in implementing the tasks. Based on the findings, this study recommends that classroom teachers should be provided some autonomy to make modifications in the syllabus. Moreover, the school management should work for teachers' professional development by arranging in- service teacher training sessions for lifelong learning.

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