Research has shown that South African mathematics performance is extremely poor compared to other countries that participated in the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Most of the competing countries were developing and were disadvantaged by their socio-economic status compared to the more economically vibrant South Africa. However, South Africa came last in the mathematics and science standardised tests commonly referred to as the Annual National Assessment and National Benchmark Test. The poor performance of the country’s learners in mathematics is exacerbated by the inability of veteran mathematics teachers to adopt technological teaching methods and innovations during teaching and learning. The Mathletics programme is a modern teaching tool that links every aspect of mathematics teaching and learning and gives individual learners the ability to successfully engage in mathematics learning activities. The learner gains mental mathematics skills to solve mathematical problems and is then able to apply the acquired mathematical skills to solve similar mathematical problems in any given situation. This study aimed to investigate and develop the professional status of veteran primary school mathematics teachers through participatory action research to improve their understanding of the application of Mathletics during teaching and learning.
The data for my study was collected via audiotape, semi-structured interviews, and participant observations. The participants were veteran mathematics primary school teachers between the ages of 40 and 59 from the Gauteng Department of Education, Tshwane South District Circuit 2. The interviews and observations were conducted at times and venues preferred by the participants at their respective schools.
The main research finding of the study shows that the majority of the participating veteran primary school teachers are not fully prepared in terms of skills, resources and methods to effectively respond to the recent technological teaching and learning transformations. As a recommendation, this study needs further research to benefit more schools and more teachers, so that participatory action research (PAR) can be a method for continuing professional development (CPD).