Exploring the Incorporation of mental Arithmetic into primary school mathematics: A case of Oshana Region, Namibia
HAIMBODI, FRANS NDEMUPONDAKA
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This study, “Exploring the incorporation of mental arithmetic into primary school mathematics: A case of Oshana region, Namibia”, explored the execution of mental arithmetic strategies in senior primary schools in the northern Namibia. Informed by the Critical Mathematics Education theory, the study explored the state of mathematics education in primary schools by looking at the computation strategies used by teachers and learners during classroom mathematics sessions at senior primary grades. Mathematics at the senior primary school level is expected to develop learners’ functional numeracy and logical thinking in order to be able to apply mathematics in their everyday lives. However, learners recorded low academic achievements in mathematics over the years despite numeral reforms that attempted to address the situation. This study was guided by the research question: How is the senior primary mathematics curriculum incorporating mental arithmetic? The study sampled 10 schools in the Oshana region in northern Namibia. Senior primary school teachers and learners at these schools were observed during mathematics lessons. The computation procedures used by both teachers and learners were recorded. The study utilised a mixed methods approach in two phases. The first phase consisted of classroom observations, individual teacher interviews and a psychometric mathematics test (pre-test) for the Grade 7 learners. The second phase consisted of a critical intervention for teachers and learners. The intervention involved series of workshops that trained teachers on mental computation strategies. The workshops were followed by a focused group interview for teachers. Out of the 10 schools, four were sampled (two experimental and two control) and the learners in the experimental schools were exposed to mental arithmetic strategies. A mathematics post-test was then administered to all the four schools. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the mental arithmetic approaches on learners’ performance.