A radical-local approach to bringing cultural practices into mathematics teaching in Ghanaian primary schools, exemplified in the case of measurement

Ernest Kofi Davis, Seth Chaiklin

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    Abstract

    The main aim of this article is to put forward the idea of the general value of the radical-local approach to teaching and learning for the development of mathematics teaching in Ghana, both in relation to classroom teaching and for teacher training. To illustrate this idea, this article reports on a study that drew on aspects of the radical-local approach to teaching and learning (Hedegaard & Chaiklin, 2005), to teach the idea of measurement to primary four school children from an average rural school in Cape Coast Metropolis of Ghana. The first four teaching sessions with a primary four class are described. Each of the teaching sessions drew on the social and cultural practices of the children to help them form an idea of what measurement is and which physical properties could be measured from given objects. Qualitative analysis of the teaching sessions revealed that the teaching approach enabled children to change their notion of measurements as involving measuring tables, chairs and human beings and so on, to measuring attributes of these objects. It also helped the pupils appreciate that several attributes could be measured from a given object. The study supports the idea that a radical-local approach can be used to teach measurement meaningfully to pupils, and has potential to be used for mathematics teaching more generally. Implications for mathematics teacher education in Ghana and similar sub-Saharan African countries are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAfrican Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences
    Volume11
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages15
    ISSN2508-1128
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Keywords

    • mathematics
    • didactics

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