Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Examining Classroom Interactions in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms in Brunei Darussalam

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Examining Classroom Interactions in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms in Brunei Darussalam

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined the classroom interactions in three secondary mathematics classrooms in Brunei Darussalam. Investigations were conducted on whether the types of classroom interactions (be it public or private) may have any direct effects on Year 10 students' learning of mathematics. The participants involved in this study were three mathematics teachers and 78 Year 10 students. Data were collected by video-recording a sequence of three lessons for each of the three classes, the use of lesson feedback forms (which included a questionnaire on code-switching) distributed to the students and student interviews. The results of the study revealed that majority of the lesson time for all three classes were spent on public interaction (78.9%) rather than private interaction (10.4%). Moreover, it was found that the types of interaction have no direct effect on the students' learning; rather it is how the teacher carried out these interaction types that can affect the students' learning. From the results of the questionnaires on code-switching, there was an almost evenly divided preference for code-switching (Malay and English) and using 'English only' as the medium of instruction among the student participants. It seems that code-switching is only useful in helping the students to understand the lesson better; however it does not necessarily mean that the secondary students learned better when the teacher code-switched during the lesson.

Keywords: code-switching, public and private interactions, types of classroom interactions, secondary mathematics, Brunei Darussalam

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduce the Problem

For many students and teachers, the classroom is where they constantly meet and attend to build knowledge, exchange ideas, exchange questions, assess and be assessed, and most of all, interact with one another. The mathematics classroom in particular, is no different. Secondary students in Brunei Darussalam, in general, spend at least two hours a week in schools learning mathematics and up to approximately 560 hours of learning mathematics in a school year (assuming that there are 200 school days in a year). The majority of this time would be devoted to teachers transmitting their mathematical knowledge content to students, students completing mathematical tasks given by the teachers and revisions for any major mathematics exams (for example, Mid-year exams, public exams and so on). In those two hours within a week, how much time do teachers spend interacting privately with their students on the content of their lessons or students interacting publicly on their mathematical ideas? For a long time, classroom interaction in Bruneian mathematics classrooms has always been dominated by public presentation by the teachers and students working individually on their mathematical tasks (Abd Salam, 2011; Clements, 2002; Lim, 2000, Matzin et al., 2013; Sakdiah, 2005; Shahrill, 2009; Shahrill & Clarke, 2014; Shahrill et al., 2013).

The implementation of SPN21 (Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad ke-21 or the 21st Century National Education System) by the Ministry of Education in Brunei Darussalam in 2008 brought with it a mission to transform our educational system to be more holistic and well suited for the 21st century. The mission for all Bruneian educators now is to 'Provide Holistic Education to Achieve Fullest Potential for All' and hence aim to make their lessons more student-centered rather than the traditional teacher-centered (chalk and talk based) lessons. In the new mathematics curriculum (under SPN21), a conceptual framework was illustrated to show how communication is supposed to interweave with the teaching of mathematical content (Curriculum Development Department, 2006). To see whether lessons are student centered or teacher centered, the authors argue that this could be deduced from the level of classroom interactions or, more accurately, the communication level between students and teacher during lessons. …

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