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Journal: Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Vol.77, No. 6)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 734-744

Keywords : commognition; realization tree; ritualised learning; visual mediators;

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Learners in South African schools often respond poorly in questions related to the asymptote. Despite the fact that there are only a few functions in the South African curriculum that actually explore the asymptote, learners still show some deficiency in their understanding of the concept. This research examined Grade 11 learners' mathematical discourses about the asymptotes of the hyperbola and exponential functions. Data were analysed using the Realisation Tree of a Function, an adaptation of the Realisation Tree Assessment tool from Weingarden, Heyd-Metzuyanim and Nachlieli. While the Realisation Tree Assessment tool focused on teacher talk, the Realisation Tree of a Function focused on learner expression and responses. A qualitative research design was essentially adopted, with exploratory, descriptive and interpretive elements complementing both its data collection and analysis. A purposive sampling strategy was implemented. Data were collected by means of a test administered to a total of 112 Grade 11 participants from four selected secondary schools. Focus group interviews were conducted with 24 of the best-performing participants by using their responses from the written mathematical tests. The results revealed that the learners' mathematical discourse is not coherent. While learners' work on each representation was often mathematical there seemed to be a struggle when the task had an unusual orientation. Different expressions of the same mathematical object elicited different responses. The challenge is that learners exhibited a fragmented relationship between the mathematical objects of the function.

Last modified: 2019-12-07 01:33:31