Understanding how Grade - 6 government school mathematics teachers can promote in - depth student learning in mathematics by using experiences from students daily lives

Zafar Khan, Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


In Pakistan, including developing countries, learning Mathematics in schools is considered to be different from using it in daily life situations primarily because approaches to teaching and learning Mathematics sometimes do not encourage students to see connections between the teaching learning Mathematics and daily life situations. Therefore, students often find it difficult to solve their daily life mathematical problems in spite of studying Mathematics for several years in schools. In order to explore the question “How can the teacher relate the teaching of Mathematics to students’ daily life experiences (DLE)?” I conducted a study embedded in qualitative inductive research paradigm, in one of the secondary schools in the public sector in Karachi, working with two Mathematics teachers and 17 students of Grade-6. The study consisted of three phases (entry negotiation, pre-intervention, and intervention). The main purpose of the study was to find out how concrete experiences of DLE can make mathematical learning less abstract and help students see connections between learning of Mathematics in schools and its use in their daily life situations. The on-going process of data analysis and interpretation was based on the pre-determined major themes related to the research questions, followed by sub themes emerged from the collected data. The study identifies some of the major issues concerning the teaching of Mathematics through students’ DLE. One of the findings suggests that the use of students’ DLE in the teaching of Mathematics as concrete mathematical representation helps them learn Mathematics with understanding. On the basis of the findings, this study puts forward some recommendations in the relation to the teaching of Mathematics. With additional professional support, teachers can design mathematical activities from students’ DLE such as shopping, sports and so on. These activities can be used to relate the teaching of Mathematics to students’ DLE ensuring the relational mathematical understanding.