What really matters?

Berinderjeet Kaur from the National Institute of Education in Singapore has written an article with the interesting title: Teaching and learning of mathematics: what really matters to teachers and students? This article was recently published in ZDM. In some previous articles, Kaur has reported on studies concerning the expectations that Singapore students have of their “best” mathematics teacher. In this article, Kaur draws upon data from The learner’s perspective study (LPS), and in particular data from the interviews of students and teachers in Singapore, and the main research questions are related to what students and teachers attach importance to in a mathematics lesson. The Singapore study used a similar research design as that of the LPS. This paper reports on the analysis of data from a part of the study that involved interviews of from the classrooms of three competent teachers.

Here is the abstract:

The learner’s perspective study, motivated by a strong belief that the characterization of the practices of mathematics classrooms must attend to learner practice with at least the same priority as that accorded to teacher practice, is a comprehensive study that adopts a complementary accounts methodology to negotiate meanings in classrooms. In Singapore, three mathematics teachers recognized for their locally defined ‘teaching competence’ participated in the study. The comprehensive sets of data from the three classrooms have been used to explore several premises related to the teaching and learning of mathematics. In this paper the student interview data and the teacher interview data were examined to ascertain what do students attach importance to and what do teachers attach importance to in a mathematics lesson? The findings of the student interview data showed that they attached importance to several sub-aspects of the three main aspects, i.e., exposition, seatwork and review and feedback of their teachers’ pedagogical practices. The findings of the teacher interview data showed that they attached importance to student’s self assessment, teacher’s demonstration of procedures, review of prior knowledge and close monitoring of their student’s progress in learning and detailed feedback of their work. It was also found that teachers and students did attach importance to some common lesson events.

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