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Title
Difficulties that level one trainees encounter in learning Mathematics: A case study of the Windhoek vocational training centre 
Full text
http://hdl.handle.net/11070/2551 
Date
2018 
Author(s)
Malwa, Lovisa N. 
Abstract
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of education (Mathematics education)  The low performance of the Level 1 trainees at the Windhoek Vocational Training
Centre has been on an increasing at an alarming rate. Over the years many of the
Level 1 trainees Of Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (WVTC) perform below
average in their final year examination. However, at the present moment there were
no proven reasons why the performance of these trainees was so low. The study
therefore investigated the difficulties that the Level 1 trainees experience in learning
Mathematics at the WVTC in the Khomas Educational Region of Namibia. The
study sought to address the following questions: (1) What is the state of the number
sense of the Level 1 trainees at WVTC? (2) What are the difficulties experienced in
learning Mathematics by Level 1 trainees at WVTC?, (3) What are the contributing
factors to the difficulties experienced in learning Mathematics by the Level 1 trainees
at WVTC?, and (4) What can be done to ameliorate the difficulties experienced by
the Level 1 trainees in learning Mathematics at WVTC? The study was guided by Blackwell, Trzesniewski and Dweck (2007) of 'fixed' and 'growth' mindset theory. The study employed a mixedmethods approach in two sequential phases. StratifiedThe group of trainees selected are in the entry stage of Vocational Education and Training therefore, since they are new to the system of
VET they provided rich information to answer the researcher's questions. To
determine the appropriate sample number, the sample formula by Fowler (2014)
dictates that the sample size needs to be 241. Thereafter, stratified sampling was used to get a sample of 241 out of 645 Level 1 trainees at the WVTC. As a result, a total of 241 Level 1 trainees participated in the study, and all the participants completed the number sense test and the FennemaSherman Mathematics Attitude Scale. The data collected from the number sense test and the FennemaSherman Mathematics Attitude Scale were analysed using frequency tables and graphs and thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. The responses from the two instruments were used to purposefully select 48 Level 1 trainees for phase two, in which qualitative data were collected through group discussions. Trainees were randomly assigned to six focus groups discussions consisting of eight trainees each.
The study found that more than 50% of the Level 1 trainees had a negative attitude
towards Mathematic. The findings from the focus group discussions revealed the
following specific difficulties that the trainees experienced in learning Mathematics;
and they were among others: difficulty in in transferring knowledge, incomplete
understanding of the language of Mathematics, and low number sense level. The
identified difficulties were caused by the following factors; large number of trainees
in the classroom, trainee's attitude towards Mathematics, trainee's poor English
Language proficiency, and time allocated for Mathematics lessons on the timetable.
The study recommended that the admission office should admit a number that is
manageable to the Mathematics instructors at the centre. Also the instructors should
provide remedial teaching to those trainees that are finding it hard to cope in the
normal classroom teaching and the centre should develop a bridging course that will
help prospective trainees for Level 1 to fill the gap on the needed number sense
efficiency to cope with the Level 1 Mathematics content. 
Subject(s)
Mathematics; Learning; Windhoek vocational training centre 
Language
en 
Type of publication
Thesis 
Repository
Windhoek  University of Namibia

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