, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 433-451

Analyzing teaching quality in Botswana and South Africa

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Abstract

This study focuses on quantifying the quality of mathematics teaching in 183 randomly selected sixth grade classrooms: 100 from the North West province of South Africa and 83 from South East Botswana. The teaching quality is measured by coding videotaped lessons for three different components: mathematical proficiency, level of cognitive demand, and observed teacher knowledge. Results suggest that the overall teaching quality is about the same in both regions. Some variation was observed at the level of each component. For example, in the South Africa sample the students engage more in tasks that just involve “memorization” and less in tasks that involve “procedures without connections” in comparison with the Botswana students. Teachers in Botswana implement the official curriculum more faithfully than do those in North West. In both countries most of the learners engaged only in low-level tasks (very little activity involved “procedures with connections”) and teachers demonstrated a lack of knowledge about how to integrate mathematical content with effective pedagogical techniques.