Some cognitive obstacles faced by ‘A’ level mathematics students in understanding inequalities: a case study of Bindura urban high schools
Nyikahadzoyi, Maroni R.
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In this study Mathematics lecturers from Bindura University of Science Education worked with mathematics teachers to determine the cognitive obstacles faced by ‘A’ level mathematics students in Bindura Urban High Schools. Knowledge of cognitive obstacles faced by ‘A’ level mathematics students is a key component of mathematics teachers’ knowledge for teaching mathematics referred to as pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman, 1986). The hope was that knowledge of students’ cognitive obstacles would enable teachers to provide high quality instruction for all students. The lesson study (a teaching improvement and knowledge building process) was considered as the appropriate theoretical framework to use to capture the ‘A’ level students’ cognitive obstacle when solving problems involving inequalities. The results of the study seem to indicate the major cognitive obstacles of the ‘A’ level mathematics students in coming to understand inequalities are overreliance on deceptive intuitive mathematical knowledge, undue focus on mathematical procedures, compartmentalization of mathematics topics and the representations of mathematical concepts.