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Teaching and learning strategies to enhance IsiXhosa-speaking learners’ mathematical understanding in English grade one classrooms
This study was aimed at exploring, describing, and understanding how Grade One teachers are using teaching and learning strategies to enhance IsiXhosa-speaking learners’ mathematical understanding in English Grade One classrooms. To date, there are still no proper mathematical registers for African languages and a scarcity of guidelines on what constitutes good mathematics practises in South African English Grade One classrooms to support IsiXhosa Home Language learners with mathematical understanding. This study highlights some of the current teaching and learning strategies experienced and implemented by selected Grade One teachers in the Metro East Education District of the Western Cape. In an attempt to resolve the research problem, recommendations are given for effective dissemination strategies to support IsiXhosa home language learners. A gap in the literature on descriptions of current support provided to IsiXhosa-speaking learners within the mathematical proficiency model of Kilpatrick, Swafford, and Findell was identified. This research, therefore, intends to fill this gap in the literature. It is especially unclear what adequate teaching and learning strategies are utilised for IsiXhosa-speaking learners to become truly proficient in using the English academic register for mathematical understanding in the context of South Africa. An adapted Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) approach supported by exploratory, descriptive, and contextual research designs was employed. Using the purposive sampling technique, a sample was chosen from eleven Grade One teachers from public and independent primary schools in the Western Cape who taught mathematics to IsiXhosa learners who received education in English. Data was collected through unstructured open-ended focus group interviews, semi-structured individual interviews, and lesson observations. The findings provide a clear description of selected Grade One teachers' current teaching and learning strategies, as well as their resources and support, and their experiences with a lack of pre- and in-service training. Conclusions are made in terms of the intertwined theory of Vygotsky’s learning theory (1978) and the five-stranded model of mathematical proficiency of Kilpatrick, Swafford, and Findell (2001). Based on the findings, several recommendations were made regarding teaching and learning strategies to enhance IsiXhosa-speaking learners’ mathematical understanding in English Grade One classrooms.