Original Research

The nature and quality of the mathematical connections teachers make

Michael K. Mhlolo, Hamsa Venkat, Marc Schäfer
Pythagoras | Vol 33, No 1 | a22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v33i1.22 | © 2012 Michael K. Mhlolo, Hamsa Venkat, Marc Schäfer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 July 2011 | Published: 16 May 2012

About the author(s)

Michael K. Mhlolo, Mathematics Education Department, Rhodes University, South Africa
Hamsa Venkat, Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Marc Schäfer, Mathematics Education Department, Rhodes University, South Africa


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Abstract

Current reforms in mathematics education emphasise the need for pedagogy because it offers learners opportunities to develop their proficiency with complex high-level cognitive processes. One has always associated the ability to make mathematical connections, together with the teacher’s role in teaching them, with deep mathematical understanding. This article examines the nature and quality of the mathematical connections that the teachers’ representations of those connections enabled or constrained. The researchers made video recordings of four Grade 11 teachers as they taught a series of five lessons on algebra-related topics. The results showed that the teachers’ representations of mathematical connections were either faulty or superficial in most cases. It compromised the learners’ opportunities for making meaningful mathematical connections. The researchers concluded by suggesting that helping teachers to build their representation repertoires could increase the effectiveness of their instructional practices.

Keywords

instructional strategies; mathematical connections; representations; teacher support

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Crossref Citations

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