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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr David Bolden

Bolden, D.S., Barmby, P.W. & Harries, A.V. (2013). A representational approach to developing primary ITT students' confidence in their mathematics. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology 44(1): 70-83.

Author(s) from Durham


Representations of mathematical concepts play an important role in understanding: both in helping learners understand the to-be-learned material and in facilitating teachers’ understanding of pedagogical processes which, in turn, are involved in developing learners’ understanding. In this paper, we report on work with a cohort of pre-service primary teachers, with the aim of developing their understanding of mathematics, their confidence in their subject knowledge and their confidence in teaching mathematics. This was attempted through the introduction and use of a ‘representational approach’ to the teaching of the mathematical concepts required of teachers training to teach in primary schools in the UK. We present the results of attitude measures and a follow-up qualitative questionnaire in identifying whether and how the use of this representational approach supported pre-service teachers’ understanding and their confidence in teaching mathematics. The results suggest that the representational approach used had a positively significant impact on the attitudes towards studying and teaching mathematics.