Exploring changes in teachers thinking during a mathematics VT program

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


A multiple case study design was used to investigate the nature of changes in teachers' thinking about teaching and learning of mathematics during a mathematics VT (Visiting Teacher) program. The VT program is a two-month professional development program for teachers offered by the Institute for Educational Development. The fieldwork of the study was carried out during the entire period that the VT program was going on. The researcher was a participant observer in the program and used the observations, interviews, informal conversations and documents to gather data from four participants who served as the study sample. The study found that the VTs began with limited notions of the nature of mathematics, how mathematics should be taught and how children learn. During the program, there was evidence of significant changes in their thinking. For example, two of the VTs began to make links between areas of mathematics and began to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts. One VT's thinking changed markedly in relation to students' cognition and began to question how students learn. One of the VTs moved from a formalized perception of mathematics to an awareness of how mathematics is generated. Several themes emerged from a cross-case analysis. First, there was evidence of tacit learning, that is, changes in the teachers' thinking that the teachers did not recognize or acknowledge. Next, although teachers' thinking had changed, their epistemological constructs remained intractable, which may have led to a lack of awareness of changes in their thinking. Then, a factor that colored the perceptions of the VTs thinking was the challenges in their context. Lastly, all the four participants developed confidence, which may have an emancipatory nature. While the confidence developed in various forms, all acknowledged it to be a result of the environment in the program. The implications of the study are discussed in the end, together with recommendations and suggestions for further research.

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