Original Research

Student mathematical activity as a springboard to developing teacher didactisation practices

Piera Biccard, Dirk Wessels
Pythagoras | Vol 36, No 2 | a294 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v36i2.294 | © 2015 Piera Biccard, Dirk Wessels | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 March 2015 | Published: 07 December 2015

About the author(s)

Piera Biccard, Department of Curriculum Studies, Research Unit for Mathematics Education, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Dirk Wessels, Department of Curriculum Studies, Research Unit for Mathematics Education, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


This article is part of a larger study on teacher development. The main study investigated teacher development within primary school Mathematics teachers’ classrooms to determine if teaching practices could be enhanced through a didactisation-based programme. It sought to develop teachers within their own environments and classrooms. Design research (both designing the conditions for change and studying the results of those conditions) enabled the researchers to design a programme that was congruent with teachers’ own needs and experiences. The programme ran for a period of a year with regular contact between the teachers and the researcher conducting the programme (the first author). The programme set out nine didactisation practices: active students, differentiation, mathematisation, vertically aligned lessons, accessing student thinking and ideas, probing student thinking and ideas, connecting student ideas, assessing students and reflecting on practice. One practice, student activity, is the focus of this article. It was found that by initiating discussion and cognitive conflict in teachers by using modelling problems, and further allowing teachers to observe pupils working in groups with modelling problems, teachers were starting to incorporate the didactisation practices within their own classrooms. This article documents specifically the fundamental role of student mathematical activity and the importance of improving student mathematical experiences, both for teacher development and for student mathematical learning. The study may be valuable in structuring and planning further effective teacher development programmes.


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