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Title: Teaching mathematical problem solving in Ghana : teacher beliefs, intentions and behaviour
Author: Armah, Prince Hamidu
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 5026
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Recent curriculum reform agendas appear to exert pressure on teachers to incorporate Mathematical Problem Solving (MPS) meaningfully into their lessons, with the view to engaging pupils with real life problems, guessing, discovering, and making sense of mathematics. However, a comprehensive review of both government and academic literature indicate that understanding teachers' reform implementation decisions is largely unexplored, particularly within the Ghanaian context. The purpose of this mixed-methods sequential explanatory study was to identify factors contributing to teacher intentions to teach MPS by obtaining quantitative results from a survey of 375 primary teachers and then following up with six purposefully selected teachers to explore those results in more depth through interviews. Based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), the quantitative phase of the study explored how certain different but interrelated belief variables such as attitudes towards the behaviour (AB), perceived norms (PN) and perceived behavioural control (PBC) lead to an explanation of teacher intentions to teach MPS, and an understanding of the contributions of relevant socio-demographic factors in defining these intentions in this context. In the follow up, qualitative phase, semi-structured interviews with six teachers were conducted to explore in depth the results from the statistical analyses. Results indicated that several beliefs about teaching MPS significantly contributed to AB, PN and PBC. Two factors, AB and PBC were found to have significant influences and accounted for 80% of the variance in the teachers' intent to teach MPS. Differences appeared to exist between private and public school teachers' for both intent and the three constructs (AB, PN, and PBC), whilst familiarity with the curriculum had an effect on teachers intentions only. In the qualitative phase, the study addressed some factors found to potentially influence teachers' intentions including MPS conceptions, past experience in mathematics, availability of resources, adequate classroom spaces and professional development opportunities. The quantitative and qualitative findings from the two phases of the study are discussed with reference to prior research. The results provide an understanding of the relevant social-cognitive processes which may influence a teacher's reform decisions, and in particular suggest strong implications for developing the capacity of schools to support teachers' intentions to implement curriculum reform policies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Curriculum change ; Mathematics teachers ; Problem solving