The relationship between the mathematics identities of primary school teachers and new curriculum reforms in South Africa

23 March 2007

Based on life history accounts of two elementary school teachers in South Africa, this article examines the construction of two teachers' mathematics identities. In the article we juxtapose these identities with the identity forms that are envisaged by the policymakers and the mathematics reforms currently underway in the country. Using the data on contradictions between the reformer's visions and the teachers' accounts of their lived experiences and identities, we construct an account of why the goals of reforming mathematics in primary school classrooms in South Africa continue to elude even this latest set of reform proposals. We conclude by exploring some possibilities for bridging the divide in order to transform mathematics teaching and learning in the South African classrooms and elsewhere.