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Title: Developing mathematical giftedness within primary schools: A study of strategies for educating children who are gifted in mathematics
Authors: Dimitriadis, Christos
Advisors: Koshy, V
Taylor, A
Keywords: Mathematically gifted children;Provision;Identification;Mathematics learning;Ability grouping
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Brunel University School of Sport and Education PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis explores the range of strategies used for educational provision for gifted children in mathematics in a group of schools in England. A review of literature relating to international theory and existing research in gifted education and empirical work into the teaching of gifted mathematicians were carried out. The literature review examined the dominant theories of intelligence and giftedness in general, including the historical background of definitions of giftedness and methods for its measurement, before specifically focusing on the concept of mathematical giftedness. The study was located in primary schools within Greater London, where schools are required to implement the ‘Gifted and Talented’ policy of the UK government. The research was conducted in two stages during the school years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. The first stage involved a questionnaire survey sent to primary schools within five Local Educational Authorities. For the second stage of the research, which constituted the main study, a case study approach was used. The main methods of data collection employed within the case study were observations of mathematics lessons, semi-structured interviews with children nominated as able or gifted mathematicians and their teachers, as well as analysing documentary evidence (i.e., school policy, teacher’s planning, children’s assessment records and children’s written work). It was found that schools were responding to the policy in pragmatic terms, although no specific training was provided for practising teachers or school co-ordinators as part of the national training programme in making provision for mathematically gifted children. In practice, in classrooms, it was found that teachers’ level of confidence and expertise, the level of focused attention given to gifted children, the level of support and extension through higher-order questioning, as well as the size of the class and the nature of the work set were factors which affected the progress, perceptions and attitudes of children who were nominated to be able mathematicians. There is a paucity of research which has investigated aspects of provision for gifted and talented children, particularly in mathematics, in the UK. By specifically addressing this topic, this study makes a distinct contribution to current literature in both understanding aspects of mathematical giftedness and the range of provision used. This study makes a particular contribution to finding out how practising teachers in England are responding to a government initiative, which should be of interest to both policy-makers and practitioners. This thesis also presents examples for organising and teaching mathematics to gifted children at higher cognitive levels, within regular classrooms; this may be of interest to audiences internationally, including countries where there are no policies of provision for mathematically gifted children.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Education
Dept of Education Theses

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