Richmond University, United Kingdom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mathematics has become a ‘critical filter’ in the social, economic and professional development of individuals and forms a core component of the school curriculum in most countries. It is upon this utilitarian nature of mathematics to the individual and the society as a whole that the school mathematics curriculum has been undergoing a number of restructuring over the last three decades. In Ghana, a new mathematics curriculum was introduced in September 2007 which aims at shifting the teaching and learning of mathematics from a teacher-centered approach to more student-centered and participatory teaching and learning. However, since the introduction of the curriculum no study has specifically examined mathematics teachers’ teaching practices in relation to these new curriculum requirements. This study examines Junior High School (12-14 years) mathematics teachers’ perceived and actual teaching practices in relation to the curriculum requirements. Participants in the study were 41 mathematics teachers’ from 22 Junior High Schools. A Semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data about teachers’ perceived teaching practices, and classroom observation was used to collect qualitative data about actual classroom practices. The key findings include: teachers’ espoused the belief that their teaching practices are consistent with the principles and guidelines of the new mathematics curriculum. Teachers’ perceived teaching practices were not fully consistent with their actual practices. The movement towards a more constructivist approach as outlined in the curriculum was not fully evident in most of the classrooms observed.
Keywords: mathematics curriculum; teachers; beliefs; teaching and learning; constructivism