Exploring master teachers' use of visuals as tools in mathematical classrooms.
The teaching and learning of mathematics has presented a great challenge for mathematics educationalists over many decades. Researchers have been searching for new strategies and techniques for improving the understanding of abstract mathematical concepts. With the current changes in the mathematics curriculum in South Africa, it is important to ensure that no learner is left behind in the pursuit to produce mathematically literate learners nationally. Teachers are encouraged to teach a common curriculum so that all learners have equal opportunities of attaining success in a democratic society in any chosen field. Some teachers achieve mathematical success easily while others struggle to achieve similar outcomes. Whilst we acknowledge that teachers ought to emulate the practices of other good teachers, we often do not seek explanations of what makes a teacher effective and how they achieve success in a classroom. As can be conceived, apart from probing teachers’ content knowledge, it is necessary to know how this knowledge can be used for optimal results in the course of teaching within the diverse South African classroom. In other words, it becomes necessary to interrogate the teacher’s pedagogical content knowledge because of the uniqueness of the South African context. It is for this reason that an in-depth study was done to explore Master teachers’ use of visuals as tools within mathematics classrooms. This study focused on six experienced mathematics teachers or Master mathematics teachers. These teachers were selected from six Dinaledi schools located in KwaZulu- Natal. The schools catered for learners from multicultural and multiracial backgrounds. Activity theory was used as a framework to locate the study. Each activity system was interrogated within an interpretivist paradigm. Data was collected using six methods and five research instruments.