Intuitive Mathematical Knowledge as an Essential Aspect of Contemporary Adult Learning: A case of women street vendors in the city of Gaborone

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Rebecca Nthogo Lekoko
Kgomotso Getrude Garegae


The findings of a phenomenological interview study with women street vendors showed a strong link between participants’ perceptions of everyday use of mathematical literacy and the speculations that mathematical use arose spontaneously in response to a practical need. The concept of intuitive mathematics as used indicates that mathematical thinking is an indispensable element of everyday conversation. Although the study finds that intuition and spontaneity are essential principles of lifelong learning, it concludes with recommendations for an empowerment curriculum that interweaves participants’ experiences and intuition with formal/academic mathematical literacy and psychosocial skills necessary for success in a highly competitive business world.

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Author Biographies

Rebecca Nthogo Lekoko, University of Botswana

Dr Rebecca Nthogo Lekoko is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Adult Education, Faculty of Education, University of Botswana. She holds a Doctor of Education (D. Ed.) from Pennsylvania State University, United State of America. Dr Lekoko’s research and publication interests have been in the areas of program planning, implementation and evaluation of adult and extension education programs. Her recent journal articles and conference presentations have focused on specific areas of distance education such as policy frameworks, student support services and assessment strategies.

Kgomotso Getrude Garegae, University of Botswana

Dr Kgomotso Getrude Garegae is a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Botswana. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Manitoba, Canada. Her publications and research interests include ethnomathematics and modernization of mathematics in the African context, information and technology, numeracy and literacy, gender, equity and equality, teachers’ and students’ beliefs about mathematics, its teaching and learning, as well as classroom dynamics with regard to HIV/AIDS and multiculturism.