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Could elementary mathematics textbooks help give attention to reasons in the classroom?

Newton, D.P.; Newton, L.D.



Trainee teachers, new and non-specialist teachers of elementary mathematics have a tendency to avoid thought about reasons in mathematics. Instead, they tend to favour the development of computational skill through the rote application of procedures, routines and algorithms. Could elementary mathematics textbooks serve as models of practice and support the professional development of these teachers? Eighteen such textbooks for use by 7 - 11 year-old children in England were examined for their potential to help teachers attend to reasons. It was found that they were unlikely to point teachers towards reasons for patterns and procedures. Although some had the potential to help in introducing and structuring a lesson, they were unlikely to induce the teacher to address matters of understanding in their discourse. Their implicit message tended to be that mathematics education is about computational skill development through routines, algorithms and practice.


Newton, D., & Newton, L. (2006). Could elementary mathematics textbooks help give attention to reasons in the classroom?. Educational Studies in Mathematics,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2006
Journal Educational Studies in Mathematics
Print ISSN 0013-1954
Electronic ISSN 1573-0816
Publisher Springer
Keywords models of practice, textbooks, teacher nkowledge, understanding reasons, elementary mathematics