Ethnomathematical Games as an Alternative Strategy: Empowering Intermediate Phase Mathematics Teachers


With the poor performance in mathematics being so widely reported, the need to improve mathematics education is a national concern (Daily News, 2019). Mathematics is still being widely taught in a teacher-centred, Eurocentric instructional approach, which may be a factor in both learner performance and attitude towards the subject. The purpose, therefore, of this study is to explore the perceptions of Intermediate Phase Mathematics teachers of an intervention programme on indigenous ethnomathematical games to teach mathematical concepts. The methodology followed a qualitative case study design. Ten mathematics teachers from different schools in KwaZulu-Natal were selected to be part of the focus group discussion that took place after the intervention programme on ethnomathematical games was completed. Findings reveal that the ethnomathematical games were a novel idea to the teachers that had not been previously explored. They did, however, also foresee potential challenges that may arise, such as difficulties in playing the game. The recommendation is that indigenous games be used in the classroom to create new avenues for making mathematics interesting and a more authentic, fun approach to learning. It is therefore suggested that education departments start exploring these initiatives to workshop teachers. The aim of this study was to provide teachers with contextually relevant approaches to teaching mathematics. Future research could explore whether indigenous games have the potential to improve the performance of learners in mathematics classrooms.


Safura Meeran
Senior Lecturer, Curriculum and Instructional Studies/College of Education, University of South Africa, Gauteng, South Africa


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Pedagogy and Curriculum


Ethnomathematical games; Mathematics challenges; Intervention programme; Mathematics concepts; Contextualisation; CAPS

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