A Microscopic Diagnosis of the Teaching Difficulties in Projectile Motion of a South African Physical Science Teacher: A Focus on Instructional Strategies

By Awelani Victor Mudau, Fhatuwani J. Mundalamo and Thomas Sedumedi.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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The paper reports on a case study of a South African grade 12 teacher who perceives the teaching of projectile motion to be difficult, with a special focus on instructional strategies. The Department of Basic Education (2010) indicated that the performance of students in projectile motion is not desired due to a number of factors, of which one of them is how they were taught by teachers. The qualitative study focused on the microscopic side of teaching practice in order to build the fundamental resources for in service training. Data was collected through interviews and classroom observations. Results emerging from this participant show that the explanatory framework and empirical perspectives of the teacher could have influenced the poor comprehension by students and his perception that teaching projectile motion is difficult. Furthermore, it is suggested that even though there is more focus on improving the subject matter knowledge of the teachers, there is also an important need to focus on the teaching practices, with a focus on instructional strategies.

Keywords: Teaching Difficulty, Teacher Practice, Projectile Motion

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.111-120. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 340.689KB).

Dr. Awelani Victor Mudau

Lecturer, Department of Teacher Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

I am a lecturer at the College of Education, Department of Teacher Education at the University of South Africa. I lecture physical and natural sciences modules. I was a high school physical science teacher for more than 10 years, with my last position being a deputy principal. I hold BSc hons and MSc degrees from the Universtity of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. I am currently working on my doctoral degree. I am interested in teachers' practices when teaching physics.

Prof. Fhatuwani J. Mundalamo

Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

I have researched on how students learn physics at first year university. Presently, I teach Physics to undergraduate student-teachers and to Honours students who are qualified teachers studying part-time. I am involved in the assessment of teaching practicum and have taught Curriculum Studies course to science student-teachers. I supervise Masters and Doctoral students in science education. My interests are researcching on Pedagogical Content Knowledge of qualified teachers and the development of student-teacher through teaching practicum.

Thomas Sedumedi

Currently I am a senior lecturer in the Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Department of the Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa. The MSTE department is responsible for the preparation of science teachers for the school system. In addition to my teaching, I am a researcher with interests in Chemistry Education with a focus on Conceptual Change. Other research areas I am involved in are Teacher Knowledge and Teaching Practice.