A study of the causes of students' conceptual problems in learning Algebra

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The main purpose of my study was to find out some of the conceptual problems and their causes in learning algebra. The study was conducted in three stages, Pre-Intervention, intervention and post-intervention stages, in one of the government schools. Two teachers and ten students from class VII-A and VII-D voluntarily participated in this study in order to provide relevant information. To collect required information, non-participant and participant observation, semi-structured interviews and reflective journal were used as techniques. During the pre-intervention stage of study, the causes of some conceptual problems in learning algebra which include lack of teachers' content knowledge, teachers' misconception about algebraic terms, gap between students' existing and current knowledge, Urdu algebraic terminology, and wait time for students were identified. The teachers appeared to be unaware of these causes of the problems. To work with the teachers as a mentor in order to improve their classroom practice and help them to overcome these problems to some extent, an intervention of instructional strategies was introduced. The findings of my study reveal that the teachers found the mentoring process helpful in improving their classroom practice and further helped them to some extent to overcome these conceptual problems. The teachers thought that the group work and A.V aids contributed to effective teaching of algebra. These views were also confirmed by the students. Further, teachers thought, if such professional support continues they can update the content and enhance the pedagogical knowledge which might help them to make students' learning in algebra interesting and meaningful.

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