Meaningful Mathematics Instruction: The Case of Fractions

Arthur J. Baroody, Janice Hume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many children have difficulty learning mathematics because of developmentally inappropriate instruction. The article discusses a number of recommendations by mathematics educators for making mathematics instruction more developmentally appropriate. More specifically, it suggests that instruction focus on understanding, not rote memorization of facts and procedures. It should entail active, purposeful learning and put less emphasis on direct instruction and paper-and-pencil work. Teachers should foster and build upon children's informal strengths rather than treating students as blank slates. They should link symbolic arithmetic to informal understanding. Moreover, instruction should promote reflection and discussion. With a developmental approach, even a traditionally difficult topic such as fractions can be meaningful, thought provoking, and interesting to children, including those labeled as learning disabled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalRemedial and Special Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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