Working collaboratively with a mathematics teacher to develop an understanding of discussion-based teaching

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This small-scale action research study worked collaboratively with a mathematics teacher to develop an understanding of discussion-based teaching in a lower secondary mathematics class. The efforts were based on the rationale that working together with the teacher helps her to develop. The participating teacher develops an understanding and skills to implement discussion- based teaching in a mathematics class. It is assumed that many teachers in Pakistan consider mathematics teaching to be making the students memorize mathematical procedures and formulae, to enable them to do sums correctly. In such a situation it makes students passive learners because teachers take over the role of a mathematics knower. It is with this background this study recognizes the importance of discussion-based teaching in a mathematics class, in order to ensure that students become active learners. Before introducing discussion-based teaching the teacher's perceptions and practices of mathematics teaching had to be studied. On the basis of the reconnaissance findings an intentional action plan was prepared and implemented to facilitate the participant teacher's understanding and practices in the mathematics class. Subsequent plans and actions would remain responsive to the realization of a need for change arising out of the experiences of implementing the previous one. Data was gathered mainly through classroom observations and the teacher's interviews. The findings revealed that a teacher did in fact come to class with certain beliefs and conceptions about the way children learn mathematics. The origins of these beliefs and conceptions lay in her prior experiences as a student; and the way mathematics was taught is a result of these beliefs. The study reports some possible strategies to facilitate a teacher in gaining an understanding about the notion of discussion-based teaching of mathematics. It also reveals that as a result of coaching and critical reflections on her own practice a teacher could change her conceptions of teaching mathematics. The study concludes by presenting the challenges faced in the process and the key learning from the study as a teacher, a teacher educator, and as a researcher. Finally, it suggests a focus for further action research.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library