Exploring the Instructional Coherence of Introduction to Fractions in Chinese Classrooms
MetadataShow full metadata
The study investigated the instructional coherence of Chinese teachers’ teaching in grade 3 mathematics classroom from Shandong, China. The study illustrates how the three Chinese teachers provide students with opportunity of learning, thinking and understanding with their previous knowledge conceptually and procedurally on the topic of introduction of fractions along with the instructional resources that teachers used to support their instructional coherence. The result of this study provides the teachers and curriculum developers in the U.S. an international perspective in addition to a new perspective on the instruction of the first stage of teaching fractions. The participants of my study were three Chinese teachers from two elementary schools from a city in Shandong province, China. The data collection tools that I used in the study were observations and interviews. The data of the study, including the videotaped lessons, interviews and teaching resources comprised of textbooks, teachers' guiding books, and teachers' interviews, were analyzed using qualitative method.
All three teachers used instructional tools such as concrete (paper), semi-concrete (diagrams) models, and contextual examples to connect students’ previous knowledge to the new knowledge. They also frequently referred to the knowledge learned in different lessons when imparting new knowledge. Procedurally, all three teachers were observed to keep a routine of reviewing at the beginning of each lesson and ending with a summary. From the analysis of teachers’ interviews and the instructional resources, it appeared that the coherence manifested in the teachers’ instruction reflected the textbook and suggestions by the teaching guide.
The evidence in this study provides some revelations on how Chinese teachers’ teaching manifest a coherence on the topic of introduction of fractions, although the differences of teachers’ teaching experience and teaching environments account for the variations in teachers’ enactments of the class activities. There is no significant gap between the three teachers in terms of the instructional coherence, which could be explained by teachers’ high fidelity to the textbook with a curriculum that is mandatory and suggests a sequence of activities to follow.