Mathe​matics Education Unit​

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Mathematics Education Unit, showcasing the importance of Science and Technology Education in the Faculty of Education.

About us – The Mathematics Education Unit at the University of Johannesburg is a vibrant and dynamic place to study. We are engaged and dynamic in advancing the quality of teaching and learning of mathematics in South Africa. We are at the cutting edge of teaching, research and community service that promotes freedom, democracy, equality and human dignity. Our environment is supportive and student-focused and our courses are challenging. We believe when all students have an equal chance to obtain quality mathematics education, learning drives economic growth, fuels innovation and creates jobs. We are committed, through effective collaborations, to:

  • the preparation of caring, accountable and critical-reflective mathematics educational practitioners who are able to support and nurture learning and development in diverse educational contexts
  • the systematic pursuit and advancement of dynamic education knowledge of local relevance and international standing
  • community engagement that anticipates and is responsive to the needs of communities as partners in learning

The Mathematics Education Unit at UJ shapes the future of secondary school Mathematics teachers and expand the knowledge economy via authentic teaching, learning and research. Jerome Bruner (2000) distinguishes learning about, which comprises most of the learning in educational institutions, from learning to be. The Unit has a deliberate emphasis on learning to be. This involves exposure to the day-to-day practices within the knowledge domain of Mathematics Education focusing on the principles, dispositions, attributes, competencies, activities, skills, procedures and values of knowledgeable, reflective and caring Mathematics educators. The Mathematics Education Unit is involved in community projects, such as Numeric, a non-profit company bringing Khan Academy to previously disadvantaged communities.

Programmes – The Mathematics Education Unit offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes fulfilling a key role in the Initial Teacher Education (pre-service) and the continuous professional development of in-service teachers.

In the professional undergraduate programmes on the Auckland Park campus, teachers qualify for posts in the senior (SP) and further education and training phase (FET) of schooling. In addition to the class work, the undergraduate programme is extended by a practicum component where students spend time in secondary schools.

The post-graduate programmes (PG Dip in Education with specialisation in FET Mathematics, BEd Hons in STEM Education with specialisation in Mathematics, and Masters and PhD in Mathematics Education) are characterised by studies that prepare students to conduct research whilst engaging with contentious issues and current trends and debates, practice and research approaches in Mathematics Education. Teaching and supervision are currently offered in the following research niches by our unit members:

Prof Erica D Spangenberg: Social- psychological imperatives in the teaching and learning of mathematics (e.g. affective constructs (mathematics anxiety, motivation, self-efficacy, beliefs about the nature of mathematics), values in mathematics, curriculum-ideologies, mind sets, thinking styles, etc.), assessment, Ethno-Mathematics, pedagogical content knowledge and visualisation.

Prof Viren Ramdhany: Pre-service teachers’ education and professional development. Understanding teacher pedagogical practices from a sociological perspective. Tracing what pre-service teachers learn from teacher education with the intention of helping inform teacher education and teacher support.

Prof. Mdu Ndlovu: Prof Ndlovu is currently the Vice Dean, Research and Post-graduate Studies but remains an integral member of the Mathematics Education Unit. Interests include technology integration into the teaching and learning of mathematics, blended learning, problem-based learning, teacher professional learning, bridging the gap between school and university, university-school partnerships for social justice.