South African Journal of Education

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Mathematical practical sessions with manipulatives: Trainee teachers’ perceptions of their utility

Alexander Maz-Machado, María José Madrid, Carmen León-Mantero, Noelia Jiménez-Fanjul


This study presents the perceptions of trainee teachers regarding the realisation of practical mathematical sessions to expand on the concepts that are taught in primary education using manipulatives. For a 4-month period, a practical session with the mentioned characteristics was carried out weekly with Year 1 students of the Primary Education Teaching Degree. After their completion of the module the students were requested to comment in writing on the utility of such practical sessions. The resulting information was analysed qualitatively through content analysis using ATLAS.ti software (Version 7.5.4). Six broad categories grouping the utilities considered by the students were found.

Keywords: mathematics; mathematical practical sessions; teacher education; trainee teacher

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