Role of a teacher in facilitating students' participation in mathematical tasks through questioning in a primary classroom

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


My experience of teaching of Mathematics in a rural context helped me realize that mathematics is considered as a set of prescribed procedures and rules, to be followed by a learner. This was deeply-rooted in my experience of exposure to Mathematics education. However, as a learner of Mathematics during my Master of Education (M. Ed.) at Aga Khan University-Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), I realized that Mathematics is socially constructed knowledge. The prescribed rules are constructed by people in order to make sense of their activities related to daily life. So learning opportunities for learners to think, reason, and engage in Mathematical tasks, which they are exposed to, make them learn mathematical knowledge. Thus, my views about mathematics teaching changed radically. Hence, teachers play a crucial rule in educating students in Mathematics. This study was designed to explore how a teacher facilitates students' participation in Mathematical tasks through questioning, for meaningful learning of Mathematical concepts. This study was carried out in one of the co-operating schools of AKU-IED. The participant of the study was a female mathematics teacher with two years of teaching experience in Mathematics. She had not been to any pre-service teacher training programes but had attended two workshops (two weeks each); one was about teaching in general, while the other was focused on primary Mathematics teaching. The fieldwork lasted for seven weeks, during which I used an integrated range of qualitative research instruments; such as, semi-structured interviews, observations, post-observation discussion, and analysis of some of the available documents, such as textbooks and note books of the students. I also closely examined the students' understanding of particular mathematical concepts presented by the teacher during teaching. The data was analyzed based on teacher's views, actions and interactions with pupils in the class, through my own interpretation and analysis. Through focusing on a teacher's views and practices of students' participation in a Mathematics class, this study argues that teachers and students interact in class with the content of mathematics. Thus, teachers can play an important role in creating opportunities for students' participation in the class. Moreover, it highlights the influences of teacher's own experiences of Mathematics learning in facilitating students' participation in Mathematical tasks through questioning and meaningful learning of Mathematics. The study also highlights some of the issues regarding Mathematics planning and teaching that may interest other Mathematics teachers, teacher educators, teacher education programes, and research in education in general.

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