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Exploring teacher learning through the use of PILO toolkits in Grade 8 and 9 mathematics classrooms in the Pinetown district.

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Curriculum coverage in mathematics has been an ongoing concern in South African schools. The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Education in partnership with National Education Collaborative Trust (NECT) initiated the Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO) aiming at developing and implementing learning improvement programmes to address curriculum coverage at district level. This case study explores teacher learning though the use of Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes toolkits in grade 8 and 9 mathematics classrooms in the Pinetown District. This study adopted Desimone’s (2009) model of professional development features and Illeris’s (2009) theory of learning. Five grade 8 and 9 mathematics teachers were purposively sampled to participate in this study. This case study was located within the interpretive paradigm. Data was generated using the semi- structured interviews and document analysis. Inductive approach was used to analyse the data. The findings of this study reveal that mathematics teachers were involved in Jika Imfundo and PILO workshops. The findings indicate that during the workshops the mathematics teachers learn how to creating a link between mathematics textbooks, learners’ workbooks and the trackers. They also learn different methods of teaching content and curriculum coverage for grade 8 and 9. While one experienced teacher was not in favour of using PILO toolkit, four teachers in this study value PILO toolkits and training because it has introduced them to better curriculum planning which had a positive impact on the teaching and learning which resulted in the change in their teaching practices in mathematics classrooms. However, teachers encountered several challenges such as lack of resources when they were using PILO toolkits. Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that PILO programme should be reviewed and be implemented across all nine provinces in South Africa. The Department of Education should provide the resources to support teaching and learning of mathematics in schools. The PILO toolkits should be designed for all grades and subjects and the number of mathematics activities per week should be reduced in order to accommodate learners with learning difficulties and special activities for slow learners should be considered. Key words: teacher learning, professional development, Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO), curriculum coverage, curriculum coverage


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.