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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674


MATHEWS, Corin; MDLULI, Manono  and  RAMSINGH, Valerie. The use of workbooks in South African grade 3 mathematics classrooms. SAJCE [online]. 2014, vol.4, n.1, pp.80-94. ISSN 2223-7682.

The poor performance of South African learners on national and international benchmark tests in mathematics and literacy has prompted the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) to devise intervention strategies, one of which is the provision of workbooks for learners. This paper is based on a case study of six grade 3 teachers' use of DBE workbooks. Data from classroom observations and interviews are reported and analysed in relation to literature on mathematical and pedagogical resources. The key finding is that teachers use the workbooks in disparate ways as a resource and that the majority of the teachers in the case study use the workbooks in ways that do not resonate with the DBE's intentions. We argue that the provision of resources alone may not lead to improved teaching and learning in primary school mathematics classrooms and that pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes need to include a focus on how resources such as workbooks can be utilised optimally.

Keywords : workbooks mathematical resources; transparent resources; visible; invisible resource; primary mathematics; structured [unstructured resource].

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