Teachers’ professional development

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Teaching practices

Teaching practices refer to instructional methods or techniques that teachers use to accomplish their classroom learning objectives. It specifies ways of presenting instructional materials or conducting instructional activities. Teachers’ teaching practices shape the classroom learning environment. The purpose of teaching is to promote students’ learning/achievement. Evidence from research studies have shown 23 that teaching practices is a critical factor in promoting students’ achievement in mathematics (Peterson, 1998; Stigler and Hiebert, 1999; Wenglinsky, 2002).

Whole class teaching

This type of practice involves teacher presentation (lecture demonstration), teacher led whole class discussions and individual work that are linked to class work. The teacher spends most of the time presenting information through lecture and demonstration. Teacher-led discussion dominates as opposed to individual work. Teacher takes an active role, conveying information to the students rather than just ‘facilitating’ learning. The information is conveyed in a brief presentation followed by opportunities for recitation and application. The teacher carries the content personally to the student rather than relying on curriculum materials or textbooks to do so (Reynolds & Muijs, 1999). This type of teaching enables the teacher to focus instruction on meaningful development of important mathematical ideas and also enables the students to learn mathematics content which according to Grouws and Cebulla (2000) help to improve students’ achievement in mathematics.

Whole class teacher-guided discussion

In this classroom teaching method, the teacher presents the subject matter in an active way by involving students in class discussion through asking a lot of questions. Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (1999) like the American Teacher effectiveness research on mathematics teaching identified teacher guided whole class discussion as a teaching method that enhances students’ achievement in mathematics. They said that important ideas are developed when students spend a great deal of time discussing alternative strategies with each other and with the teacher, often participating in the discussion, but almost never demonstrating the solutions to the problems. Similarly, Grouws and Cebulla (2000) asserted that whole class discussion is very effective in improving student’s achievement in mathematics. This is because it enables the students to see many ways of examining a situation and the variety of appropriate and acceptable solutions.

Use of group work

In this teaching technique, teachers allow students to work together in groups providing opportunities for them to share their solution methods. Working in groups with peers according to Dossey et al. (2002), provides students a less threatening environment to work because they don’t feel the pressure to perform in front of their peers. Group work helps to develop students’ problem solving strategies because “the fact that a group contains more knowledge than an individual means that problem solving strategies can be more powerful” (Reynolds & Muijs, 1999: 282). As students work in groups to solve problems and present their work to their groups they will have opportunity to learn from each other. The collaborative group problem solving activities enhances the students’ higher order thinking skills.

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Use of homework

Homework is an instructional tool that refers to tasks assigned by teachers to students to be completed outside the regularly scheduled class. Its purpose includes providing additional practice, increasing the amount of time students are actively engaged in learning, extending time on task, developing skills, increasing understanding and developing application (Grouws, 2001). It is useful to teachers for monitoring students learning and identifying their learning difficulties as it gives teachers feedback about students’ learning. Marking or review of homework also gives feedback to the students which is a very important aspect of teaching (Bodin & Capponi, 1996).

Data collection Instruments and Procedures

Data was collected in two sections: the first section was about teachers’ background (qualifications, subject majors, and years of experience), professional development and teaching practices, and the second was about students’ achievement in mathematics. Information about teachers’ background, professional development and teaching practices was collected from the teachers using the self-report questionnaire called Mathematics Teaching Opinionate Scale (MaTOS) (see Appendix B). It consists of four parts. The first part is about teachers’ demographic information. It asked about the teachers’ gender and the number of years they have been teaching. The second part collected information about teachers’ qualifications; their certificates, diplomas, degrees and subject majors.

ABLE OF CONTENTS :

  • ABSTRACT
  • DECLARATION
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
  • CHAPTER 1 ORIENTATION OF THE STUDY
    • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.2 Context
    • 1.3 Statement of the problem
    • 1.4 Objective of the study
    • 1.5 Hypotheses
    • 1.6 Significance of the study
    • 1.7 Definitions of terms
    • 1.8 Outline of Chapters
    • 1.9 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Review of other similar studies
      • 2.2.1 Teachers’ background
      • 2.2.2 Teachers’ professional development
      • 2.2.3 Teaching practices
    • 2.3 Summary
    • 2.4 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 3 Research Methods
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 Research Design
    • 3.3 Research population and sample
    • 3.4 Data collection Instruments and Procedures
    • 3.5 Validity and reliability of the instruments
      • 3.5.1 Validity of MaTOS
      • 3.5.2 Reliability of MaTOS
      • 3.5.3 Validity of JC Examination question papers
    • 3.6 Data analysis method
  • CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND FINDINGS
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Results from the descriptive statistical analyses
    • 4.3 Results of correlation analysis
    • 4.4 Results from regression analysis
    • 4.5 Testing of hypotheses
      • 4.5.1 Hypothesis one
      • 4.5.2 Hypothesis two
      • 4.5.3 Hypothesis three
      • 4.5.4 Hypothesis four
      • 4.5.5 Hypothesis five
    • 4.6 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSIONS, IMPLICATIONS OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHERS’ BACKGROUND, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND TEACHING PRACTICES ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN MATHEMATICS IN LESOTHO

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