Principles and Practices in Arithmetic Teaching: Innovative Approaches for the Primary Classroom

Principles and Practices in Arithmetic Teaching: Innovative Approaches for the Primary Classroom

Principles and Practices in Arithmetic Teaching: Innovative Approaches for the Primary Classroom

Principles and Practices in Arithmetic Teaching: Innovative Approaches for the Primary Classroom

Synopsis

The teaching of arithmetic in the primary school has traditionally been dominated by a focus on standard algorithms and this approach is now being questioned. Curriculum changes are taking place that promote the development of mental strategies, and provide more opportunities for children to develop their own ways of working. This book shows contrasting influences for change as leading mathematics educators from the USA, the UK and the Netherlands identify the way research is used to develop different classroom practices. In England, changes are taking place through a National Numeracy Strategy which is set to raise standards in every primary classroom while in the Netherlands, Realistic Mathematics Education introduces innovative approaches such as use of an 'empty number line' to support the teaching of mental strategies. This book explores why we teach in different ways, challenges orthodoxy, and sets the agenda for learning from each other.

Excerpt

International comparisons have revealed differences in pupils’ performances on arithmetic tests and this has generated considerable interest among mathematics educators and the general population because all agree that competence with numbers should be a fundamental outcome of school learning. The interest can be extended beyond the comparison of scores in pencil and paper tests, to share practices that exist in different countries in order to establish the characteristics of effective practice. It is this desire to become better informed about existing practices, and the manner in which they have been developed, that has led to the exchange of ideas contained in this book. The contributors are leading mathematics educators in England, the Netherlands and the USA, who have been directly involved in recent developments in their respective countries, and who are uniquely positioned to give insight into the reasoning behind the changes, explaining and challenging the directions arithmetic teaching is taking.

As near neighbours, the populations of England and Holland have many similarities and the exchange of ideas is facilitated by easy communication. Discussions between colleagues, and exchange visits, have led to a better understanding of the different views on teaching that are characteristic of the two countries. Both countries are experiencing curriculum changes in mathematics in primary schools: in England, through the implementation of a National Numeracy Strategy in every state primary school, and in the Netherlands through the Realistic Mathematics Education approach which is now used in almost 90 per cent of Dutch primary schools. This book attempts to identify some of the key issues that have arisen and invite reflection on the way practices may be developed to help both teachers and learners.

This book brings together the views and experiences of researchers and practitioners from England and the Netherlands who consider the evidence of research and challenge traditional approaches. An overview from a colleague in the USA extends the discussion to reflect issues not only common to the . . .

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