Original Research

Weathering the storm: Learning strategies that promote mathematical resilience

Vuyisile L. Khumalo, Surette van Staden, Marien A. Graham
Pythagoras | Vol 43, No 1 | a655 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v43i1.655 | © 2022 Vuyisile L. Khumalo, Surette van Staden, Marien A. Graham | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2021 | Published: 25 July 2022

About the author(s)

Vuyisile L. Khumalo, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Surette van Staden, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Marien A. Graham, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Most learner achievement studies tend to focus on identifying individual characteristics, ignoring the learning strategies that promote mathematical resilience. The focus of the study is on the assets embedded in an individual and their interplay with the environment. It is expected that resilience plays a deciding role in learners’ foreground with the potential to affect learner mathematics achievement in constrained environments positively. This study, framed within the socio-ecological perspective of resilience, explored how disadvantaged learners learn mathematics in a disadvantaged environment in the Further Education and Training band in South Africa. A total of nine (five boys and four girls) Grade 12 learners learning mathematics in disadvantaged environments from Johannesburg West and Johannesburg Central districts were purposively selected and one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with them. This thematic report pays attention to the qualitative phase of a broader study that employed a sequential exploratory design that draws from the work of Vygotsky, Carroll and Skovsmose. The framework focuses on the dynamic interactions between learners and the connection between the home and the school. Accordingly, the findings revealed two interrelated themes, namely foreground and growth strategies. These themes make apparent the connection between the context and the interpretation of the context by an individual as translated into decisional processes. Implications for teachers are discussed.

Keywords

resilience; mathematical resilience; assessment feedback; foreground; learning strategies

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