Secondary mathematics teachers’ use of learners’ responses to foster justification skills

Hilda Pfende, Zakaria Ndemo, Osten Ndemo


This study aimed to understand how secondary mathematics teachers engage with learners during the teaching and learning process. A sample of six participants was purposively selected from a population of ordinary level mathematics teachers in one urban setting in Zimbabwe. Field notes from lesson observations and audio-taped teachers’ narrations from interviews constituted data for the study to which thematic analysis technique was then applied to determine levels of mathematical intimacy and integrity displayed by the teachers as they interacted with the students. The study revealed some inadequacies in the manner in which the teachers handled students’ responses as they strive to promote justification skills during problem solving, in particular teachers did not ask students to explain wrong answers. The teachers indicated that they did not have sufficient time to engage learners in authentic problem-solving activities since they would be rushing to complete syllabus for examination purposes. On the basis of these findings, we suggest teachers to appreciate the need to pay special attention to the kinds of responses given by learners during problem-solving in order to promote justification skills among learners.


Instrumental knowledge; Mathematical integrity; Mathematical intimacy; Students’ responses

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Journal of Education and Learning (EduLearn)
ISSN: 2089-9823, e-ISSN 2302-9277
Published by Intelektual Pustaka Media Utama (IPMU) in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Engineering and Science (IAES).

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