Original Research

Flexible teaching of mathematics word problems through multiple means of representation

Matshidiso M. Moleko, Mogege D. Mosimege
Pythagoras | Vol 42, No 1 | a575 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v42i1.575 | © 2021 Matshidiso M. Moleko, Mogege D. Mosimege | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2020 | Published: 10 August 2021

About the author(s)

Matshidiso M. Moleko, Department of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Mogege D. Mosimege, Department of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Flexible teaching of mathematics word problems is essential to improve learning. Flexible teaching is vital in terms of providing meaningful learning, creating inclusive learning spaces and making content accessible. As such, teachers need to strive to provide flexible teaching of mathematics word problems in order to optimise and maximise learning. In line with this notion, therefore, the qualitative case study reported in this article aimed to explore the implementation of one aspect of universal design for learning (UDL), namely multiple means of representation (MMR), to guide flexible teaching of mathematics word problems. Data were collected using focus group discussions, reflection and observation sessions in which five high school mathematics teachers and a Head of Department were involved. The teachers participated in a mini-workshop on the application of the UDL principles which was organised to introduce and induct them to the approach. The study showed that MMR can be used to help guide flexible teaching of mathematics word problems by providing varied options for comprehension: options for language, mathematical expressions and symbols, as well as options for perception. The findings of the study recommend the need for teachers to adapt their teaching by considering the application of the MMR principle to guide and promote flexible teaching of mathematics word problems.

Keywords

flexible teaching; mathematics word problems; teaching strategy; universal design for learning; multiple means of representation

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