Mathematics Curriculum: Elements that Influence the Way Teachers Correlate, Interpret, and Implement The Curriculum

By Wynand van der Merwe.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Research shows that teachers interact with curriculum material in a dynamic and constructive way, instead of applying the material directly from the mathematics curriculum. Teachers often change the stipulations in the mathematics curriculum while teaching mathematics in the classroom. Determining the link between teachers’ teaching styles and curriculum material requires an integrated analysis of their didactic teaching process in the classroom and their interpretation of learning content. This article refers to the dynamic and constructive relationship between teachers and mathematics textbooks — most teachers refer to the content of mathematics textbooks in their didactic mathematics teaching strategies. The various interpretations of the curriculum suggested by authors of mathematics textbooks and teachers’ interpretation of and preferences for curriculum contents and mathematics textbooks have given rise to the listing – by researchers – of three types of curriculums in the field of mathematics tuition, namely: Prescribed curriculum (Department of Education); Intended curriculum (Textbook authors); Implemented curriculum (Teachers). As a result of the different interpretations of the mathematics curriculum by textbook authors and teachers, certain gaps in learners’ cognitive development could arise during teaching in the classroom. During the in-service training of mathematics teachers, the researcher observed that they do not know how to align their interpretation of curriculum contents with mathematical tasks, concepts and skills. In the light of the gaps in mathematics teachers’ knowledge of how to reconcile and interpret learning contents, the aforementioned gaps are analysed and an attempt is made to find possible solutions to the following: teachers’ interpretations of how to bring mathematics curriculum contents into line with their interpretations of the reconciliation found in mathematics textbooks. Arising from the above-mentioned aligned interpretation by teachers, mathematics teaching in the classroom is analysed and evaluated with a view to determining whether learners’ cognitive mathematical skills have improved.

Keywords: Mathematics Curriculum, Mathematics Textbooks in Didactic, Mathematics Teaching Strategy, Aligned Interpretation by Teachers, Learners’ Cognitive Mathematical Skills

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Learning, Volume 20, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.13-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.190MB).

Dr. Wynand van der Merwe

Mathematics Facilitator, Department of Education in Gauteng, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa