Original Research

Mentoring as professional development intervention for mathematics teachers: A South African perspective

Benita Nel, Kakoma Luneta
Pythagoras | Vol 38, No 1 | a343 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v38i1.343 | © 2017 Benita Nel, Kakoma Luneta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 June 2016 | Published: 22 September 2017

About the author(s)

Benita Nel, Mathematics Education Department, University of South Africa, South Africa; School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Kakoma Luneta, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Only a small percentage of mathematics teacher professional development activities in South Africa include pedagogy and instruction approaches required to teach the content. In the light of the poor mathematics results, it is of pertinent importance that teachers need to be developed in terms of the mathematics they teach and the pedagogical component of it. A teachers’ professional development programme that used mentoring as one of the interventions was investigated where the mentor conducted classroom observations and had post–observation conferences with the teachers. The data from the observations, post observation conferences and interviews of both the mentors and the mathematics teachers was used to inform the off-site workshops on mathematics content and the instructional skills required to effectively teach the content. Mentoring supported the teachers in terms of mathematics content and instruction, team teaching and lesson preparation. The teachers’ individual content and instructional needs were also assessed and supported. The study revealed that mentoring that takes cognisance of teachers’ content and instructional needs enhanced their lesson preparation and understanding of mathematics as well as the skills required to teach it effectively. The study recommends mentoring as an effective intervention in professional development programmes especially when it is informed by the teachers’ instructional and content needs.


mentoring; instructional skills; mathematical content knowledge professional development


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