Psychological challenges facing grade 7 learners in mathematics classes at schools in the Frances Baard district, Northern Cape
Mathematics is a science that involves studying quality, structure, space, and change. This science seeks to pattern, formulate new conjectures, and empirically deduce truth from appropriately chosen axioms and definitions. This study identifies the psychological challenges that grade 7 learners encounter in Mathematics classes. It adopts a qualitative approach through a case study research design. It involved six focus group discussions. The thematic analysis was used to analyse data in this study. This study revealed that grade 7 learners encountered various challenges. The psychological factors included anxiety, stress, insufficient assessment timing, negative feelings associated with mathematics, peer disruptions, frustrations, negative learner-teacher relationships, and an unpleasant atmosphere. The academic factors dealt with learners disrespecting teachers, misunderstanding mathematics, class seating arrangement, and insufficient lesson hours. The socio-economic factors included home issues and geographical locations. This study recommends that the teaching style and methods of teaching be upgraded. It further recommends introducing more practical work to encourage learner engagement. Learners should be taught to solve problems and think deeper about concepts instead of rote learning and lecture-style teaching. As the issue of 21st-century learning has taken over the learning scope, learners should be encouraged to think critically about issues and use the content to solve real-life problems. Learners' anxiety could be managed by seeking the help of social services available to schools, even though they are in demand in many schools across South Africa.
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