Year 2 inaccurate but flexible mental computers: teacher actions supporting growth

Heirdsfield, Ann & Lamb, Janeen (2007) Year 2 inaccurate but flexible mental computers: teacher actions supporting growth. In Australian Association for Research in Education, 26 November - 30 November 2006, Adelaide, Australia.


The Year 1-10 Mathematics Syllabus, recently implemented in Queensland’s schools introduces mental computation as the main form of computation with written computation emphasising students’ self developed strategies (QSA, 2004). To facilitate the incorporation of mental computation into the curriculum a teaching experiment that adopted a case study design was conducted. A Year 2 teacher was provided with a series of professional development (PD) sessions that incorporated the mathematics of mental computation and the use of support materials. She then used this knowledge to develop (with the assistance of the researcher) a series of 8 half hour lessons delivered over an eight week period. This paper reports on the pre- and post-study interview results of two of her students. Their selection was based on responses to questions that probed for accuracy and flexibility of strategy. During the pre-study interview both students demonstrated inflexible and inaccurate mental computation. On post-interviewing the students remained inaccurate; however, their repertoire of strategies had developed such that they were categorised as flexible mental calculators. Close examination of teacher actions, including engaging students in mathematical discussions, the use of representations and teacher consideration of the mental computation process of proficient mental computers all appear to have supported student growth. Further growth in accuracy as well as flexibility, although seen in other students in the class was not evident with these two students. Close examination of error patterns will further support teacher acquisition of content and pedagogical knowledge essential for the teaching of mental computation.

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ID Code: 6606
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: mathematics education, mental computation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:32

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