Original Research

The professional development of primary school mathematics teachers through a design-based research methodology

Piera Biccard
Pythagoras | Vol 40, No 1 | a515 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v40i1.515 | © 2019 Piera Biccard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 September 2019 | Published: 17 December 2019

About the author(s)

Piera Biccard, Department of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


This article sets out a professional development programme for primary school mathematics teachers. Clark and Hollingsworth’s model of teacher change provided the theoretical framework necessary to understand teacher change. A design study allowed for increased programme flexibility and participator involvement. Five volunteer primary school teachers teaching at South African state schools were involved in the programme for a period of one year and their pedagogy, use of mathematical content and context developed during the programme. Twenty lessons were observed over the year-long period. An observation rubric that specifically focused on mathematical pedagogy, use of context and mathematical content scale guided the researcher to gauge global changing teacher practices. Teacher growth was evident through their professional experimentation and changes in their personal domain. The design features emanating from the study are that teachers be given opportunities to experience reform tasks (e.g. model-eliciting tasks) in the role of learners themselves and teachers should be encouraged to use contextual problems to initiate concept development. More mathematical detail in lesson planning is also necessary. Furthermore, teachers need appropriately designed resource materials to teach in new ways. It is recommended that professional development includes teachers engaging collaboratively in solving rich tasks. This study adds to the growing body of knowledge regarding teacher development programmes that focus on how teachers change their own classroom practices.


Mathematics teacher professional development; primary school mathematics teachers; in-service training; design-based research; model-eliciting tasks


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Crossref Citations

1. Professional development for teachers’ mathematical problem-solving pedagogy – what counts?
Brantina Chirinda
PYTHAGORAS  vol: 42  issue: 1  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/pythagoras.v42i1.532