Development of a model to support professional development of primary mathematics teachers in Mauritius.
This study reflects the phenomenological and empirical description of the researcher's experience as a secondary school teacher, teacher educator and researcher at a teacher training institute. The study was prompted by low performance and high drop outs of children in the primary schools of Mauritius. In the course of the investigations, a variety of collateral and related issues spawned from the study of the main theme. These focused on three main educational issues being at the heart of the reform process undertaken in Mauritius: undergraduate teacher preparation programs, continuing professional development of teachers, and curriculum restructuring. The first issue addresses the problem of pre-service teacher preparation programs and its impact on efficiency, effectiveness and efficacy of teachers. The second concerns the provision of professional development opportunities to teachers and its impact on the performance of students and overall school improvement. The third focuses on the need for curriculum restructuring in a context where, with the advent of the information society, the educational landscape is changing to accommodate computer technology as a cognitive tool. The thesis also focuses on the impact of teachers' development on school performance and makes recommendations for improving schools' overall performance through teacher development, computer technology, and curriculum restructuring. The phenomenological dimension of the study relates to the search for a pedagogical-andragogical-technological solution to the problem of continuing professional development of teachers. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the educational system in Mauritius within focus on the role of teachers from a modernist perspective. The chapter also provides the rationale for change from a postmodern perspective. Chapter 2 provides a review of literature on teacher development, preparation programs for trainee teachers, and the problematics of elementary school mathematics from a constructivist perspective. Chapter 3 deals with problems of investigating research paradigms and the search for methodological stances for the investigations. Chapter 4 deals with the analysis of the research data. Chapter 5 describes the findings and provides the bases for formulating the proposals and recommendations. The study is based on a diversity of research methods that in fact transcend the narrow standards of traditional empirical research. The researcher had recourse to a range of methods, based on an eclectic approach that drew from developmental research and a combination of ethnographic and hermeneutics research, in investigating contemporary teaching, learning and curriculum development processes in order to provide a concrete, theoretically-based direction for organizing the investigations. The approaches, in a sense, are mutually intertwined and provide a basis for investigating and making suggestions on how teacher development and curriculum ought to be or could be. Much of the study has been driven by postmodern thinking in pursuit of a rationale to bring a re-conceptualization of teacher training and development, and curriculum change. In this respect, the researcher may be regarded as a 'self-styled postmodernist' adopting a questioning epistemology to investigate the objective reality created by modernism. The scientific notation has been used to link the different sections of the text for ease of reference. It is expected that the findings and recommendations will be found to be useful to decision- and policy-makers and may guide further research in the field of teacher education in Mauritius. It is hoped that this thesis will contribute to enrich the burgeoning research literature on Mauritian education.