Original Research - Teaching and learning mathematics during the Covid-19

Bridging powerful knowledge and lived experience: Challenges in teaching mathematics through COVID-19

Karin Brodie, Deepa Gopal, Julian Moodliar, Takalani Siala
Pythagoras | Vol 42, No 1 | a593 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v42i1.593 | © 2021 Karin Brodie, Deepa Gopal, Julian Moodliar, Takalani Siala | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 December 2020 | Published: 13 August 2021

About the author(s)

Karin Brodie, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Deepa Gopal, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Julian Moodliar, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Takalani Siala, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic supported an investigation of ongoing challenges as to whether and how to make mathematics relevant to learners’ lifeworlds. Given that COVID-19 created major disruptions in all learners’ lives, we developed and taught tasks that attempted to make links between their experiences of the pandemic and disciplinary mathematical knowledge. We located our investigation in current debates about the extent to which disciplinary knowledge can be linked to learners’ out-of-school experiences. We developed and analysed two tasks about COVID-19 that could support link-making and productive disciplinary engagement, and analysed one Grade 10 teacher teaching these tasks. We found that linking mathematics to learners’ lifeworlds is both possible and extremely difficult in relation to task design and how the teacher mediates the tasks. In relation to task design, we argue that teachers cannot do it alone; they need to be supported by the curriculum and textbooks. In relation to mediation, we saw that teacher practices are difficult to shift, even in the best of circumstances. We articulate the complexities and nuances involved in bridging powerful knowledge and lived experience and thus contribute to debates on how to teach powerful knowledge in relation to learners’ lifeworlds.

Keywords

mathematics curriculum; pedagogy; relevance; powerful knowledge; learner engagement

Metrics

Total abstract views: 272
Total article views: 158


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.