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debate about using resources (concrete manipulative) in year 6

elleanor 12 February 2019 21:21 - Last edited by elleanor on 13 February 2019 09:06
Posts6
Joined23/11/17

I am currently in my last year at university and would like to conduct a study to gather my own research material. I am exploring the use of resources (concrete manipulatives) throughout primary key stages, and then I will be considering the current pressures that teachers face as a result of getting children to acheive highly in SATs. Consequently, from what I have seen, some teachers tend to focus more on learning by rote as this often seems to be effective in the short-term but is substituted for deep, secure understanding.  

 

If you are able to provide your view on this matter, I would greatly appreciate it. I hope to be able to include some of this as an appendix in my upcoming assignment!

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Laurie_Jacques 12 February 2019 22:29
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Joined27/06/06

Good luck with your studies Elleanor.

By 'resources' do you mean concrete manipulatives?

You will need to be careful about your claim that Y6 teachers often focus on rote learning in favour of securing learning. I suspect many Y6 teachers would want to defend this.

Is it that you believe Y6 teachers might appear resistant to using concrete resources, the area that interests you.

Although you mention a current debate about resources in Y6, I think this is really a more general interest in the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach to learning mathematics that has in fact been promoted in initial teacher education for over 50 years through the work of Bruner. 

You may have enough research evidence to just focus on Y6 teachers and consider one or more of the following questions?

What concrete representations do Y6 teachers chose to use to support children's learning for certain parts of the mathematics curriculum?

What drives them to use these representations?

How does the use of the representations change how they would previously have taught particular areas of the mathematics curriculum?

What barriers exist that lead to Y6 teachers choosing not to use concrete representations in their teaching?

I hope this helps you.

Laurie

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Rebecca_Hanson 12 February 2019 23:17 - Last edited by Rebecca_Hanson on 12 February 2019 23:23
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I focus on ensuring teachers are fluent in using the different representations of the number lines, base ten resources, the proportion bar, circular representations of fractions and array in year 6. While I teach them how to use concrete resources the expectation is that children can generally cope with just visual to abstract teaching, although there's a problem with the circular representation of fraction because there isn't a good free online visual interactive model so far as I know so I tend to encourage them to use Learning Resources Pizza Fraction Fun.  Please someone let me know if there is a good digital tool for this!  All aspects of number can be taught usuing just these representations.

That's just number of course.....

But this is best practice and it's certainly not what's going on in a lot of schools. One of your challenges will be the variety of what's actually going and trying to capture that, but also trying to capture best practice.  It would be sad to do a study that didn't actually observe any excellent practice.

 

 

 

 

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elleanor 13 February 2019 11:18
Posts6
Joined23/11/17

Hi Laurie, 

Thank you for your response. 

By resources I do in fact mean the use of concrete munipulatives and have amended my original post to reflect this. 

My research is going to focus on the following issue, that in the year 6 classes that I have observed, there would appear to be a lack of concrete manipulatives within mathematics. Instead, it would seem that the building of sucure knowledge using these kids of resources, is replaced for repetitive worksheet style questions which encourage rote learning. My theory would be that this correlates with the increasing pressures teachers face to get children to complete also increasignly complex mathmatics processes. 

Your response has been helpful and I will explore further into your posed question 'What barriers exist that lead to Y6 teachers choosing not to use concrete representations in their teaching?'

Thanks again!

Elleanor

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elleanor 13 February 2019 11:19
Posts6
Joined23/11/17

This is an interesting insightful response, thank you Rebecca!

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