A phenomenological study on mathematics teachers having experience with innovative learning activities: views, enablers,and barriers

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2021-2-10
Erbasan, Elçin
The purpose of the study was to investigate middle school mathematics teachers’ views and experiences regarding innovative mathematics learning activities. This study also aimed to determine enablers and barriers in the process of the activities and teachers’ suggestions that may lead the educational stakeholders to increase the qualityofmathematicsinstruction and accordingly, student learning. Phenomenological research was conducted with thirteen middle school mathematics teachers who were reached using the snowball sampling method. The participants have both theoretical and practical knowledge about innovative mathematics education and work in public and private schools in different cities in Turkey. The data were collected in the 2018-2019 spring semester through semi-structured interviews. The findings of the current study revealed that the teachers describe innovative mathematics education by linking it with student-centered instruction, real-life connections, learning by doing, active participation, technology use, activity-based teaching, andinterdisciplinarity. According to the findings, teachers had positive emotional engagements while implementing innovative mathematics learning activities and perceived the effects of the activities on students as having positive contributions to change students’ attitudes towards mathematics learning and enhancing their 21st-century skills, affective skills, learning of concepts, and psychomotor skills. The major findings were related to enablers and barriers to implementing innovative mathematics learningactivities. The enablers were stated as collaborating with colleagues, receiving support from school management, receiving positive feedback from parents, thinking about students’ possible questions, receiving positive feedback and reactions from students, talking with an expert from a different profession. The barriers were associated with time, students’ learning habits and classroom learning culture, work environment, and preparing activities. Barriers related to time were determined as time constraintsfor covering the curriculum and need for teaching to test; barriers related to students’ learning habits and classroom learning culture were determined as being familiar with teacher-centered instruction, lack of teamwork experiences, difficulty in classroom management; barriers related to work environment were determined as having too much workload, lack of equipment for activities, and destructive criticism of colleagues; barriers related to preparing activities were determined as difficulty in integrating other disciplines into mathematics, teachers’ lack of knowledge and experience, and difficulty in simplifying complex concepts for students. Lastly, the participants asserted the need for providing training and resources for teachers to ministry and universities for better innovative mathematics education. The implications based on the findings offer some considerations about integrating innovative mathematics learning activities into the curriculum, developing effective training programs, and supportingteachers for successful implementation.

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Citation Formats
E. Erbasan, “A phenomenological study on mathematics teachers having experience with innovative learning activities: views, enablers,and barriers,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.