|M.Sc Student||Tanhum-Zodik Iris|
|Subject||Characteristics of Mathematics Tutoring in an Informal|
Setting: A Case Study of an Engineer
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Orit Zaslavsky|
This research focuses on the nature of teaching mathematics in an informal environment, within the framework of a project the goal of which was to increase the number of high school students who continue to higher education in science and high-tech engineering. The project provided opportunities for senior high school students who were conditionally enrolled in advanced level mathematics classes to receive additional support by attending weekly after-school tutorial reinforcement lessons. These lessons were conducted by engineers from the high-tech industry.
The goal of the study was to characterize the special informal classroom learning environment that evolved within the project, and to identify distinctive elements that enhanced students’ learning, as perceived by the students, the engineer and their regular mathematics teacher.
The research is a case study conducted in one of the schools that took part in the project. It focused on one of five groups of students that participated in the reinforcement lessons, and on the engineer that thought them. The participants in the study consisted of thirteen highly motivated 10th grade students, who were provisionally placed in a class that studied mathematics at the most advanced level (5-unit).
The research is an interpretive study of teaching that follows the qualitative research paradigm, based on thorough observational fieldwork, aiming to make sense and construct meaning of a specific classroom culture
The findings provide evidence of the possible fruitful interplay between formal and informal learning environments, suggesting ways for teachers to deal with unexpected situations requiring flexibility. The research findings may encourage teachers, in formal environments, to take similar "risks" during their teaching, such as solving unfamiliar problems in the class by unraveling their authentic underlying thought processes.