Using Knowledge of Children’s Mathematics Thinking in Classroom Teaching: An Experimental Study
This study investigated teachers’ use of knowledge from research on children’s mathematical thinking and how their students’ achievement is influenced as a result. Twenty first grade teachers, assigned randomly to an experimental treatment, participated in a month-long workshop in which they studied a research-based analysis of children’s development of problem-solving skills in addition and subtraction. Other first grade teachers (n = 20) were assigned randomly to a control group. Although instructional practices were not prescribed, experimental teachers taught problem solving significantly more and number facts significantly less than did control teachers. Experimental teachers encouraged students to use a variety of problem-solving strategies, and they listened to processes their students used significantly more than did control teachers. Experimental teachers knew more about individual students’ problem-solving processes, and they believed that instruction should build on students’ existing knowledge more than did control teachers. Students in experimental classes exceeded students in control classes in number fact knowledge, problem solving, reported understanding, and reported confidence in their problem-solving abilities.