Instruction to support mental computation development in young children of diverse ability

Year: 2006

Author: Heirdsfield, Ann, Dole, Shelley, Beswick, Kim

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Fostering young children's mental computation capacity is essential to support their numeracy development. Debate continues as to whether young children should be explicitly taught strategies for mental computation, or be afforded the freedom to develop their own. This paper reports on teaching experiments with two groups of students in their first year of schooling: those considered 'at-risk', and those deemed mathematically advanced. Both groups made considerable learning gains as a result of instruction. Importantly, the gains of the at-risk group are likely to renew both their own, and their teacher's confidence in their ability to learn. In this paper, the instructional programs are documented, highlighting the influence of instruction upon the children's development.