Original Research

The theory of Realistic Mathematics Education as a theoretical framework for teaching low attainers in mathematics

Hayley Barnes
Pythagoras | Issue 61 | a120 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v0i61.120 | © 2005 Hayley Barnes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2005 | Published: 20 October 2005

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This article recounts the process embarked on and reasons for selecting the theory of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) as the theoretical framework in a study carried out with low attaining learners. In the study an intervention for low attaining grade 8 mathematics learners was implemented in an attempt to improve the understanding of the participants with regard to place value, fractions and decimals, and to identify characteristics of this type of intervention and potential design principles that could be applied in similar interventions. In this article, the theoretical framework for the intervention is discussed and theoretical (rather than empirical) reasons for selecting the theory of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) for use with low attainers are put forward. From a literature review that looked at the teaching and learning of mathematics to learners who fall into the category of performing below the required standard, five common aspects emerged. Once these aspects had been identified, a theory in mathematics education was sought that encompassed these five aspects. The theory of RME was subsequently selected as the theoretical framework to drive the design and implementation of the intervention and is being suggested as a possible way forward for working with low attaining learners.


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