Mathematics curriculum reform and its Implementation in textbooks: Early addition and subtraction in Realistic Mathematics Education

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Abstract

Since the late 1960s, a reform in mathematics education, which is currently known under the name Realistic Mathematics Education (RME), has been taking place in the Netherlands. Characteristic for this approach to mathematics education is that mathematics is not seen as ready-made knowledge but as an activity of the learner. Although much has been written about the big ideas and intentions of RME, and multiple RME-oriented textbooks have been published, up to now the development of this approach to mathematics education has not been thoroughly investigated. In the research reported in this article, we traced how RME has evolved over the years. The focus in our study was on early addition and subtraction in primary school. For this, we studied RME core curriculum documents and analyzed RME-oriented textbooks that have been published between the onset of RME and the present. We found that the big ideas and teaching principles of RME were clearly reflected in the learning facilitators for learning early addition and subtraction and were steadily present in curriculum documents over the years, although some were made concrete in further detail. Furthermore, we found all RME learning facilitators also to be present in all RMEoriented textbooks, though in some cases in other ways than originally intended. Our research shows the complexity of a curriculum reform process and its implementation in textbooks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number752
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalMathematics
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Early addition and subtraction
  • Mathematics curriculum reform
  • Primary school
  • Realistic mathematics education
  • Textbooks

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