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Traditionally mathematics has been a teacher-led subject. According to Solomon and Black (2008, p. 76) mathematics, ‘Perhaps more than other subjects has suffered from the ‘chalk and talk’ approach’. They imply that pupils believed there was only one way of obtaining a correct answer in mathematics and this would be the teacher’s way. However, this meant that although children would know how to effect a mathematical operation, they would not have an understanding of the concept and an ability to apply it outside the maths classroom (Pimm, 1987). Recent reform in the field of mathematics education has tried to counter this and promote the role of classroom discussion in supporting children’s learning.The introduction of the National Numeracy Strategy (NNS) in 1999 signaled a significant change in the teaching of mathematics, both in terms of its focus and its pedagogical practice (Pratt, 2006). It meant the arrival of the daily numeracy lesson, the introduction of the three part lesson (oral/mental starter, main, plenary) and, more importantly for the purpose of this essay, one of the key principles of the NNS is ‘direct teaching and interactive oral work with the whole class and groups’

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