Source:University of Western Macedonia - Faculty of Education, Florina, Greece, p.172 (2014)
Keywords:2014, menon, Thematic issue
INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL ISSUE
Behaviour of students, teachers and future teachers in mental calculation and estimation
We are happy to present the first Special Issue of our new journal “MENON: Journal for Educational Research” which was introduced in 2012. Research in Mathematics Education is a significant area of educational research, which is Included in the topics of this journal.
“Behaviour of students, teachers and future teachers in mental calculation and estimation” has been chosen as the subject for this special issue on the ground of a number of reasons wich are presented below.
Over the past decades, many studies have been conducted in the field of mental calculations and estimation and more precisely in relation to the definition of these concepts, the identification of the strategies used by various age groups, the relationship with other concepts, such as number sense, the procedural and conceptual understanding among others.
Many educational systems have updated the teaching of numbers and operations in mathematics, incorporating mental calculations and estimations in their elementary and middle education curricula.
Nowadays, it is considered timely to conduct research in the implementation of the teaching of mental calculation and estimation with whole and rational numbers as well as the recording of students' behaviour and the training of pre-service and in-service teachers in theses concepts.
During the last decade, researches on mental computation and estimation with rational numbers has been conducted in the Laboratory of “Nature and Life Mathematic” at the University of Western Macedonia, some of which are presented in this issue.
Most of the papers included in this issue, refer to mental calculations and estimations with rational numbers, a topic that is not very common in the literature and covers a wide age range including elementary school students, adults, as well as pre- and in-service teachers. The researches are presented according to the age range of the participants.
- In their study Peters, De Smedt, Torbeyns, Ghesquière, Verschaffel distinguish between two types of strategies for subtraction: (1) direct subtraction, and (2) subtraction by addition, and provide an overview of the results of 5 related studies using non-verbal methods to investigate the flexible use of these strategies in both single- and multi-digit subtraction. Adults, students and elementary school students with mathematical learning disabilities have participated in this research.
- Anestakis and Lemonidis in their study, investigate the computational estimation ability of adult learners and implement a teaching intervention about computational estimation in a Junior High School for Adults. They suggest incorporating computational estimation into Second Chance Schools and into adult numeracy teaching practices in general.
- The two papers of Lemonidis, Nolka, Nikolantonakis and Lemonidis, Kaiafa examine the behaviour of 5th and 6th grade students in computational estimation and in mental calculations with rational numbers, respectively. In these studies, the relation between students' performance in computational estimation and mental calculations with rational number and problem solving ability are also examined.
Four studies on this issue, refer to the prospective elementary teachers' behaviour in mental calculation and estimation.
- Anestakis and Desli examined 113 prospective primary school teachers’ views of computational estimation and its teaching in primary school. Results revealed that the majority of prospective teachers identified the importance of computational estimation for both daily life and school.
- In their research Kourkoulos and Chalepaki interviewed and examined through a test 69 pre-service teachers aiming to investigate the factors that contribute to their computational estimation ability. They found five factors that contribute to computational estimation, such as the mathematical background and the attitude towards mathematics.
- Lemonidis, Tsakiridou, Panou and Griva used interviews to examine the knowledge and the strategy use of 50 pre-service teachers in multiplication tables and their mental flexibility in two-digit multiplications by using the method choice / no-choice by Lemaire & Siegler, (1995). The results showed that prospective teachers are not flexible in two-digit multiplications and their flexibility to mentally calculate two-digit multiplications is associated with their knowledge in prep and their prep response time.
- Koleza and Koleli have used a test to study the mental computations and estimation strategies of 87 pre-service teachers. The data revealed that the prospective teachers’ number sense concerning rational numbers, basic concepts of the decimal system and elementary numerical properties was very weak.
- Lemonidis, Mouratoglou and Pnevmatikos studied 80 in-service teachers’ performance and strategies in computational estimation and individual differences concerning their age and work experience, their attitude towards mathematics and their prior performance in mathematics during high school years.
- The last paper of Lemonidis, Kermeli and Palaigeorgiou propose a teaching intervention to sixth grade students in order to promote understanding and enrich their conceptual strategy repertoire to carry out mental calculations with rational numbers. At the same time, three teachers’ attitudes towards teaching mental computation with rational numbers, were examined.
Finally, I would like to thank all the researchers from Belgium and Greece who contributed with their papers in this thematic issue, the colleagues from the laboratory of "Nature and Life Mathematics", the reviewers of the papers and Elias Indos for the organizational and technical support in the journal.
The Editor of the first Special Issue of
MENON: Journal for Educational Research
Prof. Charalampos Lemonidis
Download the 1st Thematic Issue from here.