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Teaching patterns to grade 2 learners: a teacher’s self-study.

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The focus of my self-study was on improving my teaching of patterns in mathematics to grade two learners. My concern was that learners failed to complete, identify, create and describe patterns in mathematics. I therefore decided to examine my methods of teaching patterns in mathematics so that I could improve my practice and thereby enhance learners’ understanding of patterns. I had to scrutinise my personal history of learning mathematics, patterns in particular, and explore how my experiences of learning patterns in mathematics may have had an impact on how I was teaching my learners. I employed social constructivism as a theoretical perspective to frame this study so that I could understand how people come to know and then channel my methods into assisting learners understand patterns. The participants in this study included me as the main participant, my grade two learners, and my critical friend who was also completing her master’s degree qualification. My research was steered by two questions. The first question: What can I learn from my personal history about my teaching and learning of patterns? It helped me unearth the learnings I acquired from my journey through my past learning experiences and this changed my perception of effective teaching. The learnings I acquired from my personal history were: creating a positive learning environment, employing practical-based learning, incorporating games into learning and teaching of patterns, and understanding parental involvement in learners’ education. The second question: How can I improve my teaching of patterns to grade two learners? In response to this question, I employed the learnings stated above to guide me when planning my lessons so that my teaching would then be different. I generated data using self-study methods such as collage, artefacts, drawings, audio-recordings and journal writing. A review of the literature on mathematics learning and teaching, emphasised using games and practical activities in order for learners to learn and understand in a fun way. This self-study research helped me understand that as teachers, we need to reflect on our teaching and engage in introspection to find answers within ourselves.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.