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SARChI Mathematics Education Chair


The overall objectives of the SARChI Chair in Mathematics Education at Rhodes University are fivefold:

1.            To research how visualization processes can be harnessed and used in mathematics settings in Southern Africa;

2.            To engage in empirical research to understand how visualization processes can be used as pedagogical tools or strategies in the basic and higher education sectors;

3.            To engage in empirical research to understand how visualization processes can be used as an effective learning tool in education settings;

4.            To build Masters and PhD research capacity in mathematics education in Southern Africa;

5.            To build staffing capacity in the Chair project consistent with the transformation imperatives of South Africa.

These will be achieved by engaging in an extensive research programme across Southern Africa including South Africa, Namibia and Zambia.  The empirical research approach is typically classroom-bases and the individual studies are mostly ethnographic case studies contributing to a collective research agenda that hopefully speaks to improving classroom practice and mathematical understanding. 


Research Project(s)

The research questions are structured around individual research projects driven by Masters and PhD students.  In order to optimise community impact of the work that the research projects are doing, each research project has at its core an intervention element that is integral to the research design.  Participants in these intervention programmes include teachers and learners, depending on the specific focus of the research project.

Themes and Research Questions

The individual research questions of the students’ research projects fall into four clusters:

  • Visualisation as a pedagogy
    • What is the role of visualisation processes as a teaching tool in the development of mathematical knowledge?
    • What is the nature (kinds, types and qualities) of visualisation processes in the teaching of mathematics?
    • How are visualisation processes and using manipulatives related?
  • Visualisation and cognition
    • What does learning using visualisation processes entail?
    • What visualisation process enable learners to construct conceptual understanding and meaning making of mathematical concepts?
  • Visualisation as a key mathematical construct
    • How do visualisation processes relate to mathematising?
    • What is the role of visualisation in the construction of metaphors?
  • Visualisation as a medium for epistemological access
    • What are the roles of visualisation processes in the inclusive classroom?  This would specifically relate to visualisation processes for those at the margins of the mainstream classroom, that is, for mentally, physically and emotionally challenged learners.

The SARChI Mathematics Education Chair conducts the following research project(s):

 Visualisation Processes in Mathematics Education (VIPROmaths)


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Last Modified: Fri, 09 Feb 2018 16:18:25 SAST