Practice and Perception of Group Learning Method by Teachers of Mathematics in selected Secondary Schools of Mazabuka District
Keywords:Practice, perception, Group, Learning
The purpose of this study was to determine the practice and perception of group learning method by teachers of mathematics in selected secondary schools of Mazabuka District. The schools comprised of 2 co-education and 2 single sex schools out of a total of eight (8) secondary schools in the district. The study was guided by three research questions namely; â€œHow do teachers of mathematics in secondary schools practice the group learning method?â€, â€œHow do teachers of mathematics perceive group learning method in the teaching and learning of mathematics at secondary school?â€, â€œWhat is the relationship between the practice and perception of group learning method in the teaching and learning of mathematics at secondary school among teachers of mathematics?â€.
Â During this study data was collected over a period of six (6) months at two different stages. In the first stage, the lesson observation check list was used to record the amount of time spent on various teaching strategies and learning activities practiced in mathematics lessons. During the second stage, a questionnaire was administered to the teachers of mathematics.
The research has established that group learning method was not often practiced and in cases where the method was practiced, the practice lacked the basic principles needed for successful implementation of the method. Secondly, the study established that the teachers of mathematics who took part in the study possess the conceptual knowledge about group learning method and perceived that the method had overwhelming benefits. The study established that teachers of mathematics had negative attitude towards group learning method as they pointed out that group learning method was time consuming, difficult to measure individual level of understanding, and that some pupils do not participate. Thirdly, the findings of this study further suggest that there was a mismatch between the teachers of mathematicsâ€™ perception about group learning method and how they practiced it. The study concluded by making some recommendations that teachers of mathematics should consider integrating strategies that create opportunities for pupils to actively participate in the lesson. Furthermore, the teachers within the department of mathematics should be planning lessons together where group learning method is integrated with other methods, observe each other and discuss such lessons with the aim of establishing effective ways of practicing the group learning method. The study also challenges policy makers and other stake holders in education that have a responsibility of monitoring teachers to ensure that teachers adhere to the demands of pupil centred methods like group learning method.
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