Title: Strategy flexibility in children with low achievement in mathematics
Authors: Verschaffel, Lieven ×
Torbeyns, Joke
De Smedt, Bert
Luwel, Koen
Van Dooren, Wim #
Issue Date: 2007
Series Title: Educational and Child Psychology vol:24 issue:2 pages:16-27
Abstract: Instructional psychologists and mathematics educators have for a long time emphasised the educational importance of recognising and stimulating flexibility in children’s self-constructed strategies as a major pillar of their innovative approaches to (elementary) mathematics education and have designed and implemented instructional materials and interventions aimed at the development of such flexibility. Especially in many curriculum reform documents from the last two decades as well as in many innovative curricula, textbooks, software, etc., there is a basic belief in the feasibility and educational value of striving for strategy flexibility, also for the younger and mathematically weaker children. However, systematic and scrutinised research that convincingly supports these basic claims is still rather scarce. In this contribution, we reflect on the flexible or adaptive choice and use of solution strategies in elementary school arithmetic. In the first part of this article we give some conceptual and methodological reflections on the adaptivity issue. More specifically, we critically review definitions and operationalisations of strategy adaptivity that only take into account task and subject characteristics and we argue for a concept and an approach that also involve the sociocultural context. Second, we address the question whether strategic flexibility is a parameter of strategic competence that differentiates mathematically strong and weak children. Finally, we discuss whether aiming for strategy flexibility is a feasible and valuable goal for all children, including the younger and mathematically weaker and weakest ones.
Description: 01
ISSN: 0267-1611
VABB publication type: VABB-1
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Parenting and Special Education
Education and Training
Instructional Psychology and Technology
Research Centre for Educational Research & Development, Campus Brussels (-)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - miscellaneous
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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