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Challenges and Opportunities for Ob

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Challenges and Opportunities for Ob

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International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities
Vol. 3, No. 2 (2012), pp. 139-147 www.irssh.com ISSN 2248-9010 (Online), ISSN 2250-0715 (Print)

The Constructivist Theory in Mathematics: The Case of Botswana Primary Schools Thenjiwe Emily Major (Corresponding Author) Department of Educational Foundations University of Botswana Private Bag- 00702, Gaborone Botswana- 00267 E-mail: majorte@mopipi.ub.bw Boitumelo Mangope Department of Educational Foundations University of Botswana Private Bag- 00702, Gaborone Botswana- 00267 E-mail: Mangopeb@mopipi.ub.bw (Received: 13-10-11 / Accepted: 12-4-12)

Abstract This paper is based on a large research study that compared teacher quality and student performance in Southern Africa countries of Botswana and South Africa. In this paper we explore the extent to which the primary school teachers in Botswana use the constructivist approach in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Data was collected through classroom videotaping. Sixty out of the 64 mathematics teachers teaching at least one mathematics lesson, and more than one third of the teachers were videotaped twice. A total of 83 mathematics lessons were videotaped. The results of the study indicated that a large percentage of lessons observed required learners to simply recall rules, while a very small percentage of the lessons observed required learners to investigate or explore relationships between mathematical ideas. Keywords: Constructivism, mathematics, active learning, Botswana, passive learning.

Introduction
Constructivism is a learning theory describing the process of knowledge construction. Knowledge construction is an active, rather than a passive process. Constructivists believe that knowledge should not be just deposited into the learners’ minds; instead it should be constructed by the learners through active involvement in the learning process. Hausfather (2001) noted that, Constructivism is not a method. It is a theory of knowledge and...