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Perceptions of Mathematical Pattern amongst Primary Teachers

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In a long-term study concerning mathematical tasks in primary schools, it was noted that teachers had difficulty in discussing mathematical processes and many lacked the vocabulary to do this. However, certain words and phrases such as 'pattern' or 'looking for pattern' were used with more confidence. With this in mind, discussions with teachers about commercial mathematics tasks were analysed based on mentions of pattern. It was found that the word was used frequently, but that some teachers had a wider and more sophisticated view of 'pattern' than others. There were also variations in their views about teaching pattern, with some making it clear that they had strategies for helping children to see patterns. There was a feeling amongst some teachers that not all children could see patterns, and there was a tendency for this group to regard 'pattern spotting' as a top set activity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Mathematics Education, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

Publication date: 01 December 2000

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