An Exploratory Study into Children’s Views and Lived Experiences of Mathematics in a Primary School in Co. Donegal.
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Due to a movement towards the inclusion of the child’s voice based on ‘The New Sociology of Childhood’, it is important to obtain the perspectives of children in relation to their views and experiences. To date there is little research on the experiences of children in Mathematics. This is an exploratory study into children’s views and lived experiences of Mathematics in a first and second class primary school setting. The study consisted of five second class children (2 boys and 3 girls) and 17 first class children (9 boys and 8 girls). Using theoretical perspectives connected with the New Sociology of Childhood and informed by the UNCRC (2010), this study employs a participatory methodology to explore the voice of the child. Data collection comprised of circle time, a pictorial questionnaire and the use of a semi-structured discussion session based on a class story book comprising of the children’s individual representations of Mathematics. Findings reveal that a number of factors influenced children’s enjoyment of Maths. The use of concrete resources emerged as a key indicator of Mathematical enjoyment when working within all areas of Maths along with the importance of collaborative learning, positive feedback and parental support. Similarly the study found that there were a number of factors associated with a dislike of Maths, for example, ability level was identified as an influential factor during pair-work tasks, assessment and when carrying out problem solving tasks. This research aims to contribute to the existing literature so as to identify best practice in Mathematics and to inform curriculum planning and assessment
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