Context Preferences of Teachers in South Africa and South Korea for Mathematics in schools
van Schalkwyk, Gregory Peter
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The study is located within the project: Relevance of School Mathematics Education (ROSME) of the Department of Didactics at the University of the Western Cape. The research is undertaken in the belief that Mathematics enables creative and logical reasoning about contextualised problems in the realm of the physical and social world as well as in the discipline mathematics itself. Relevance of school Mathematics has the implied notion of contextual issues. This research attempts to investigate the contextual issues that teachers have to deal with in Mathematics education. Given the results of the TIMMS report, this research aims to investigate, through comparison, the context preferences between a selected group of practicing teachers in South Africa and those of their counterparts in South Korea. The contexts most preferred by the South African teachers were the Mathematics that will help learners at Universities and technikons, the Mathematics involved in health matters such as the amount of medicine to be taken and the spread of HIV/AIDS and the mathematics involved in making bridges and airplanes and rockets. The South Korean teachers preferred the Mathematics involved in the making of bridges, airplanes and rockets, the Mathematics involved in sustainability issues as well the mathematics involved in the construction of bridges, airplanes and rockets. The contexts least preferred by both cohorts are the Mathematics involved in gambling, military matters and disco and rave dancing. This study provides insight into the contexts preferred by teachers to be included in a Mathematics learning programme that might enhance Mathematics teaching and learning.