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Teachers’ understanding and use of mathematical structure
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 12:44 authored by Mark Thomas Gronow
This research focuses on how junior secondary mathematics teachers can be more effective in teaching mathematics. It is based on the concern that too few secondary school students now study advanced mathematics subjects, possibly because they believe they do not have the ability to do so or because they dislike mathematics. The concept of mathematical structure is researched as a pedagogical approach to teaching mathematics that could not only convey the content and concepts of mathematics, but also engage students, more successfully. In this small-scale study, I investigated teachers’ understanding and promotion of mathematical structure. In doing so, I examined the nature of mathematical structure while acknowledging the previous theorising and research about procedural and conceptual understandings of mathematics teaching. I attempted to identify teachers’ awareness of 2mathematical structure as well as their promotion of structural thinking when teaching. Five mathematics teachers were surveyed. Three of these were then interviewed and subsequently observed teaching junior secondary mathematics classes. The survey and interviews were concerned with what teachers said about mathematical structure, and the observations identified whether they promoted structural thinking in their teaching. The results, while not conclusive, provide an interesting comparison between what teachers thought was mathematical structure and how they conveyed this understanding when actually teaching mathematics.