Low Attainers in Primary Mathematics: The Whisperers and the Maths Fairy

By Jenny Houssart | Go to book overview

10

Conclusion

It was the last week of the summer term and the final day of my fieldwork. I walked from the classroom with the teacher and we chatted about some of the children; in particular, we talked about Damian. We agreed Damian had made progress over the year and had shown mathematical strengths on some occasions. Despite this, the teacher was frustrated at not really understanding 'the reason' for Damian's difficulties or knowing 'the solution'. I sympathised with the teacher. Although I had tried to gain some understanding of Damian's mathematical strengths and weaknesses and of what helped and hindered him, I knew I was not in a position to talk with any conviction about a simple 'reason' or 'solution'.


Introduction

The picture presented by my research is complex and occasionally contradictory. However, there were some findings arising from my observation. In this chapter I will start by discussing these and will move on to discuss some issues which they raise. Finally, I will talk about what might be done to help the children I worked with and others like them.

I believe that the findings are supported by evidence from all four sets. Despite their similarities, the sets also had some marked differences. This was an important aspect of the research, not because it was intended as a comparison of approaches or schools or teachers, but rather because I wanted to look for messages which arose in more than one situation. I invite those who work in similar situations to consider whether they believe these findings are also applicable there.

My research has some obvious limitations. For example, it is not possible to tell from this research whether low-attaining students in

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Low Attainers in Primary Mathematics: The Whisperers and the Maths Fairy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Children 8
  • 2 - Maths Talk 24
  • 3 - Mental Work 41
  • 4 - Number Equipment 57
  • 5 - Practical Work 74
  • 6 - Written Work 91
  • 7 - Calculators and Computers 109
  • 8 - Easy Tasks, Hard Tasks, Elastic Tasks 127
  • 9 - Assessment Tasks 145
  • 10 - Conclusion 163
  • Index 177
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