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Practicality or pedagogy? Exploring the rationale Primary Mathematics teachers give for using manipulatives in their classrooms.

Sheard, Simon and Simpson, Sarah (2022) Practicality or pedagogy? Exploring the rationale Primary Mathematics teachers give for using manipulatives in their classrooms. In: University of Sunderland 2nd Annual Postgraduate Research Conference, 15/09/22, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)


How do primary maths teachers’ perceptions of Teaching for Mastery (TfM) inform their choices when selecting and using manipulatives (concrete resources) within their lessons?
The use of manipulates or ‘concrete’ resources is a well-established approach within the domain of mathematics education (Sowell, 1989; Moyer, 2001; Carbonneau et al., 2013; Education Endowment Foundation, 2020). Following the introduction of the revised ‘National Curriculum in England’ (DfE, 2013), the use of manipulatives has become widespread in primary schools as part of the ‘mastery’ curriculum. Effective teaching using manipulatives within the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) heuristic as part of the wider Teaching for Mastery (TfM) approach has been a primary focus of England’s forty Maths Hubs (, who hold responsibility for leading improvement in maths education across England. This research explores the rationale given by primary teachers within the sample group for the selection and deployment of manipulatives within their maths lessons. These rationale will be considered in relation to the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) delivered by a Maths Hub as part of the teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD). Research suggests that ‘disparate factors’ (Griffiths et al., 2017) can influence teachers’ use of manipulatives over the pedagogical principles delivered as part of TfM CPD. The research will contribute to the request that ‘more research is needed to inform teachers’ choices about which, and how many, representations to use and when’ (Education Endowment Foundation, 2017).
This session will touch briefly on the background to the research, provide concrete examples of manipulatives and share the research design that will be used to elicit data about the choices that teachers make when selecting manipulatives to support learning objectives.
Concrete resources; Manipulatives; Mastery; Mathematics; Maths Hubs; Teaching for Mastery; TfM

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Depositing User: Simon Sheard


Item ID: 15125

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ORCID for Simon Sheard: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2022 14:49
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2022 14:49


Author: Simon Sheard ORCID iD
Author: Sarah Simpson

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Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education


Education > Primary Education

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