The stability of learners’ choices for real-life situations to be used in mathematics
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One of the efforts to improve and enhance the performance and achievement in mathematics of learners is the incorporation of life-related contexts in mathematics teaching and assessments. These contexts are normally, with good reasons, decided upon by curriculum makers, textbook authors, teachers and constructors of examinations and tests. However, little or no consideration is given to whether students prefer and find these real-life situations interesting. There is also a dearth of studies dealing explicitly with the real-life situations learners prefer to deal with in mathematics. This issue was investigated and data on students’ choices for contextual issues to be used in mathematics were collected at two time periods. The results indicate that learners’ preferences for contextual situations to be used in mathematics remained fairly stable. It is concluded that real-life issues that learners highly prefer are not normally included in the school mathematics curriculum and that there is a need for a multidisciplinary approach to develop mathematical activities which take into account the expressed preferences of learners.