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Making Sense of Number is a concise introduction to personal and professional numeracy skills, helping readers to become more mathematically competent. It includes relevant content to assist pre-service teachers to improve numeracy for the classroom or to prepare for LANTITE, as well as support for practising teachers to develop their understanding and skills in numeracy. Making Sense of Number focuses on number sense as a conceptual framework for understanding mathematics, covering foundational areas of mathematics that often cause concern such as multiplication, fractions, ratio, rate and scale. The authors use real-world examples to explain mathematical concepts in an accessible and engaging way. Written by authors with over 30 years' experience teaching mathematics at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, Making Sense of Number is an essential guide for both pre-service teachers and those looking to improve their understanding of numeracy.
This chapter focuses on the initial phase of practitioner research – the decision to engage in formal and structured research, as distinct from the everyday work of educators. This decision, which can be challenging for educators who are beginning researchers, is usually underpinned by an interest or issue related to an aspect of their practice, such as school or classroom-based priorities, issues, problems or observations. Although this impetus may be powerful and the educator highly motivated to pursue research, it is reasonable to have concerns about taking the step to conduct research. The chapter begins by focusing on common reasons that inform practitioners’ decisions to research, and we describe scenarios that would motivate educators and provide them with an impetus to engage in a study. This discussion includes examples of real-life practitioner researchers’ experiences. The chapter also examines some of the common concerns of beginning researchers and responds to each, giving authentic examples of practitioners’ apprehensions and the ways they were addressed. The final part of the chapter is devoted to planning and writing the research proposal.
This chapter provides an initial broad overview of education research – what it is and the ways in which it is conducted. It also focuses on the role of practitioner research within this field. The chapter begins by outlining diverse theoretical perspectives on education research and emphasises the importance of research in teaching. Practitioner research is becoming increasingly acknowledged by education authorities across the world as a higly effective means of strengthening educators’ professional development. In this chapter, a rationale is presented for educators to engage both with (as critical consumers of research) and in practitioner research (through research on their own practice) as a means of growing as a professional. Later in the chapter, the ways in which different countries emphasise the need for educators to engage in and with research are described. We consider the different approaches to practitioner research that are commonly used, describe research paradigms and present a case for pragmatic approaches that are suited to the work of practitioners.