Transforming Primary Mathematics: Understanding classroom tasks, tools and talk, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transforming Primary Mathematics

Understanding classroom tasks, tools and talk, 2nd Edition

By Mike Askew


172 pages

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pub: 2015-11-23
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Fully updated to reflect the new curriculum, the revised edition of Transforming Primary Mathematics sets out key theories and cutting-edge research in the field to enable teachers to take a fresh look at how they teach mathematics.

The book encourages teachers to reflect on their own beliefs and values about mathematics, and asks them to question whether their current methods meet the needs of all learners, and the challenge of having high expectations for all. It provides clear, practical approaches to help implement fundamental change in classroom environments, and offers motivational teaching styles to ensure meaningful mathematics learning.

Chapters take an inspiring, sometimes controversial, and often unconventional look at the subject of mathematics, by:

  • endorsing the use of a ‘new mathematics’ – one based on problem solving, modelling, inquiry and reasoning, not on abstract rules, memorising, and regurgitation
  • arguing that there is more to maths teaching than ‘death by a thousand worksheets’
  • challenging norms, such as the practice of sorting children into sets based on their perceived mathematical ability
  • asking whether mathematical ability is innate or a result of social practices
  • examining what a ‘mastery’ approach might entail
  • highlighting the role of variation in supporting learning
  • advocating an environment where teachers are encouraged to take risks.

Transforming Primary Mathematics is for all primary school teachers who want to make mathematics welcoming, engaging, inclusive and successful.


"Askew's book provides a fresh take on a difficult topic; namely, teaching elementary school mathematics. This well-researched book uses multiple theoretical lenses and copious references to relevant research to guide the reader to an approach that makes elementary school mathematics “something [children] want to pursue beyond what they are required to do … Askew employs numerous examples from his own experience to elucidate the underpinnings of his arguments. Recommended for upper-division elementary education students, as well as any faculty member with an interest in mathematics education."

- R. M. Fischer, Montana State University

Table of Contents

PART 1 Thinking through mathematics 2. Thinking about learning 3. Thinking about curriculum 4. Thinking about teaching PART 2 Transforming primary mathematics 5. Mathematical activity: mindful or fluent? 6. Variation theory 7. Transforming the learner 8. Building mathematical community PART 3 Teaching tripod 9. Tasks 10. Tools 11. Talk Coda

About the Author

Mike Askew is Professor of Mathematics Education at Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa, having also been a Professor at King’s College London University, UK, and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Elementary
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Mathematics