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Numeracy within reform-based learning environments : a synthesis of five dimensions of practice


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Skalicky, Jane Louise 2009 , 'Numeracy within reform-based learning environments : a synthesis of five dimensions of practice', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Numeracy has become as essential as literacy for any individual who wishes to
participate fully in democratic society. Alongside a growing awareness of the
importance of developing school students' numeracy capabilities has been a
curriculum reform movement that emphasises values-based, authentic experiences
and transdisciplinary learning. This reform has translated into a focus on
developing lasting conceptual understandings of a coherent set of the key ideas
and skills that students need to become critical and productive members of
The aim of this thesis is to further understanding of numeracy from both a
theoretical and a practical perspective in the context of schools undergoing
curriculum reform. The study is concerned with the enactment of curriculum in
the classroom, in which the roles and experiences of teachers and students are
equally important. It considers the question, How are teachers positioning, and
how are students experiencing, numeracy in reform-based learning environments?
A synthesised view of numeracy, underpinned by social constructivist theory, is
presented in this thesis. It acknowledges the complexity involved in numeracy and
argues that multiple aspects, beyond mathematical skill, are necessary for the
development of competent and effective numeracy practice. A focus of the study
is the development of a conceptual framework for numeracy incorporating five
dimensions of practice: Mathematics, Reasoning, Attitude, Context, and Equity.
These dimensions provide the lens through which the beliefs and practices of the
teachers who participated in the study are considered and the learning exhibited
by individual student participants is examined.
A qualitative collective case study was conducted through four phases of inquiry.
Phase 1 involved an interview with the five participant teachers prior to their
commencement of a unit of work that they had planned to achieve numeracy
learning outcomes and that was informed by the Tasmanian Essential Learnings curriculum, the local curriculum framework at the time of the study. Phase 2
involved classroom observations of the units of work and incorporated researcher
observations, teacher records, and student outcomes. During Phase 3, interviews
were conducted with six students in each case study school. The final phase of the
study was a reflective interview with each of the participant teachers. The results
of the research are presented by case with data for teachers and their respective
students reported together.
Outcomes associated with the teachers and the students are presented in relation to
the numeracy framework developed, conceptualised through five dimensions of
practice. Within this broad view of numeracy, the diverse possibilities available
both for teaching and for student learning are discussed, along with implications
for curriculum design and professional learning. The thesis emphasises the
potential for this newly developed multi-dimensional view to guide the numeracy
education of students, thereby fulfilling the democratic goals of preparing students
for their roles as future citizens.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Skalicky, Jane Louise
Keywords: Numeracy, Mathematics, Curriculum planning, Education
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2009 the Author

Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. CD-ROM contains appendices H-M. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references

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