Original Research

Continued professional development of teachers to facilitate language used in numeracy and mathematics

Anna-Maria Wium, Brenda Louw
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 59, No 1 | a17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v59i1.17 | © 2012 Anna-Maria Wium, Brenda Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2012 | Published: 04 December 2012

About the author(s)

Anna-Maria Wium, Department Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Brenda Louw, Department Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Learners in South African schools have been found to perform poorly in mathematics because they do not understand the language used in solving mathematical problems. In order to improve academic performance teachers need to be made aware of the importance of language in the development of numeracy. A continued professional development (CPD) programme addressed this need. The purpose of the research was to understand how the participants implemented the strategies developed during the programme and how they perceived the support provided by the programme. The research was conducted over 2 years in semi-rural and urban contexts. As part of a more comprehensive mixed method study, the qualitative data referred to in this article were obtained through open-ended questions in questionnaires, focus groups, reflections in portfolios, and a research diary. Results showed that numeracy terminology was often used by learners that differed from standard terminology prescribed by the curriculum. The participants themselves did not necessarily understand the numeracy terminology and thus found it a challenge to implement curriculum outcomes. Issues related to language use of the participants in teaching numeracy were associated with the lack of resources available in the language of learning and teaching  (LoLT). Some of the participants taught numeracy in English, rather than LoLT. The results indicated low teacher expectations of the learners. The CPD programme was considered valuable and effective. SLPs in schools need to be expand their role to provide CPD opportunities for teachers.

Keywords

Teacher support, numeracy, discourses, collaboration, language, foundation phase

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