An exploration of the contributions of the advanced certificate in education in mathematical literacy programme towards the professional development of teachers in KwaZulu-Natal.
This study explores some of the contributions made by the Advanced Certificate of Education in Mathematical Literacy (ACEML) program towards the participating teachers’ professional development. The teachers’ professional development was explored by looking at the development of content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, the changes in their beliefs and identity and the attainment of self- confidence. The study uses a mixed method approach where data was collected by means of a questionnaire using a survey of thirty one teachers. Six of the teachers from this sample were then interviewed. An analysis of the questionnaires and the interviews was done together with some of the tasks done by the participants. This entailed using at first a quantitative analysis and then a qualitative analysis. The findings revealed that the teachers had learnt new content knowledge since mathematical literacy was a new subject. Many of the teachers also felt that they had improved on their existing knowledge by using context to make them real life problems. The teachers reported that they gained pedagogic content knowledge and confidence both in and out of the classroom and saw themselves participating as a professionals. The beliefs of the teachers in Mathematical Literacy (ML) changed as they identified with the content and the pedagogic content knowledge of ML. They experienced learning through their tutors, peers and resource materials. Since mathematical literacy was a new subject with a discipline requiring different pedagogical content knowledge from the subjects that they previously taught. The teachers explained that the program also assisted them in becoming reflective teachers. Completion of the qualification opened up access to membership of professional bodies such as AMESA which is a mathematics educator organisation, as well as opportunities for promotion as leaders and senior officials in the department of education. The results also has implications for the teacher, department of education and the universities. An ongoing teacher development is necessary to maintain a high standard of professionalism.
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