Enabling a primary school Mathematics teacher to teach mental Mathematics

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Munira Amirali


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


In today's rapidly evolving educational landscape, continuous professional development (PD) is crucial for in-service teachers to ensure the effective delivery of education. Efforts to drive change or improvement in education, whether through educational reforms or school improvement plans, underscore the critical importance of PD. Thus, this action research study aimed to facilitate a primary school math teacher in teaching mental math skills to class 5 students in a low-cost private school in Karachi, Pakistan. The study utilized a qualitative action research methodology, focusing on customized PD with on-site support and collaborative teaching opportunities. The process of data collection in this study occurred in three stages; reconnaissance, intervention and post-intervention. During reconnaissance, data were collected through classroom observations, semi-structured interviews and document analysis to explore the existing perceptions and practices of a teacher towards teaching and learning of mental math skills. Based on the findings from the reconnaissance, intervention was designed, in which the teacher was offered one-to-one support in developing understanding of content and pedagogy pertaining to teaching and learning mental math skills through working sessions. This aimed to address the knowledge gap of the teacher identified during reconnaissance. In addition, the researcher used a collaborative approach to teaching to support the teacher to connect theory with her real classroom situations. The data were gathered through classroom observation, assessment of students, and semi-structured interview of the participant teacher. The findings from the study revealed that on-site PD intervention the researcher was able to make the teacher reflect on her past beliefs and practices and hence improved students’ participation and motivation by helping the teacher to facilitate her students’ learning in a more independent way. The study further emphasized the need for context-specific PD, reflection and collaboration, and the continuous integration of mental math in teaching and learning process of the students. The implications of the study extend to school leadership and teacher educators, highlighting the significance of in-service training, collaborative learning, and effective lesson planning. Overall, this research contributes to the knowledge base on PD in low-cost private schools, offering strategies for enhancing teaching and learning outcomes in mathematics education.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library