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Teaching and learning fractions: Lessons from alternative example spaces

Glenda Anthony and Liping Ding

International comparative studies offer unique opportunities to interrogate and challenge embedded practices within education systems. In this paper we explore the textbook presentation of fractions from a Chinese text. The fraction tasks reviewed in the Chinese text involve practice on learnt knowledge as well as exercises designed to extend the learnt knowledge to generate integrated knowledge structures and to develop flexible problem-solving abilities. Designed using the theory of “teaching with variation”, these tasks reflect cultural expectations about what content is important, how mathematics can be taught and what competence is valued for students. In this paper we consider how these task activities compare with those from a recently published New Zealand text.

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