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The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple (S. Gudder, 2010).’  Mathematical thinking is an abstruse term which can be defined in a variety of ways, and broken down into several sections. …
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Download file to see previous pages It is believed that mathematical thinking is the process of logical thought, as highlighted by DFES (1999) is a process of ‘Logical reasoning, problem solving and the ability to think in abstract ways (DFES, 1999, p.60-61).’ Development of this method of thought can be aided through the art of speaking and listening, alongside group and collaborative work. Children using and applying their skills equates into mathematical thinking, as agreed by the National Curriculum (1999) which states that ‘mathematics trains children with a ‘uniquely powerful set of tools’ to understand and develop the world (Directgov, 2010).’ The National Numeracy Strategy, introduced by the Department of Education and employment, lays down a framework for the curriculum to be followed in all schools while teaching mathematics for children attending Reception to Year 6 (National Numeracy Strategy, 1999). Compiled in 1999, The National Numeracy Strategy set out four main approaches to the teaching of mathematics, viz.: Dedicated mathematics lessons every day Direct teaching and interactive oral work with the whole class and groups An emphasis on mental calculation Controlled differentiation, with all pupils engaged in mathematics relating to a common theme (National Numeracy Strategy, 1999). The National Numeracy Strategy has outlined guidelines for numeracy to be taught nationwide which has to be utilised by teachers within the classroom (National Numeracy Strategy, 1999). ...
In order to calculate either cognitively or use written algorithms, it is necessary to have basic numeracy skills. These include: remembering and recalling number facts, relationships of numbers, and problem solving using mental visualization and/or previously learned strategies. Mental mathematics is the foundation to all mathematical methodologies. The ability to count or at least know place value is all cognitive during which memory is used to recall numerical facts or obtain new ones, therefore this skill should be nurtured and emphasised. There are several educationalists who are proponents of encouraging children to engage in more mental calculations rather than just solving problems on paper. In this regard, Askew (1998) states that, ‘Ultimately, mathematics is a mental activity. While practical mathematics can help children develop mental images, written work on its own is not sufficient (Askew, 1998)’. This statement agrees with the principle laid down in the National Numeracy Strategy, which states that “an ability to calculate mentally lies at the heart of numeracy (National Numeracy Strategy, 1999)’ It is of truth, and it is of little use if a child can complete a page of sums, but does not know how to tackle a problem that has not been written down. The National Numeracy Strategy emphasizes that pupils need to be given opportunities to develop flexible methods of working with numbers mentally that enables them to use known information to derive facts that they cannot recall (National Numeracy Strategy, 1999).  Differentiation within education largely relates to the differences between comparable things, for example, building a picture for the children that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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