Exploring mathematics teachers’ feedback on learners’ errors: insights from a secondary school classrooms in Kenya
Date of Award
Master of Education (MEd)
Dr. Anjum Halai
Institute for Educational Development, East Africa
Errors are a common phenomenon in mathematics classrooms. They signify gaps in learners’ knowledge, skills or understanding that requires to be addressed. Teachers use a range of assessment strategies to identify the gaps and provide feedback. This study explored mathematics teachers’ feedback on learners’ errors in form two level class of a public secondary school in Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to understand teachers’ views of learners’ errors, the nature of mathematics teachers’ verbal feedback on learners’ errors and the nature of teachers’ written feedback on learners’ errors. This qualitative study used interviews, lesson observation, document analysis and informal conversations to collect data. Data analysis involved organizing, coding, seeking patterns and interpreting data. Findings indicate that teachers view learners’ errors as important because they reveal areas that are difficult for learners, expose learners who need teachers’ assistance and guide teachers’ instructional decisions such as remedial teaching. The study shows that a significant part of the mathematics teachers’ written and verbal feedback on learners’ errors is evaluative in nature. This does not give teachers and learners the opportunity to delve deeper into mathematics learning. In addition, evaluative feedback provides insufficient information to learners that would enable them act on their errors. The study findings show that feedback provision in a large class is a challenge. The study to begin with recommends that teachers’ together with learners’ need to explore errors in mathematics to deepen learning by seeking to establish learners’ reasons behind their erroneous responses. Secondly, mathematics teachers can strengthen their feedback provision practices by providing descriptive feedback that will enable learners’ act on their errors alongside what is commonly provided as evaluative feedback. Lastly, teachers need to adopt strategies such as cooperative learning to overcome the challenges of providing feedback to learners’ in large classes.
Simiyu, Kennedy Namasake, (2012). Exploring mathematics teachers’ feedback on learners’ errors: insights from a secondary school classrooms in Kenya (Unpublished Masters Thesis). Dar es salaam: Aga Khan University