Letter to the Editor

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  • 1 University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3010. Victoria. B.C., Canada VSW 3N4
  • 2 Mathematics Education Research Centre University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom

I enjoyed reading the article about the proceptual view of arithmetic by Gray and Tall (March 1994). The vivid “snapshot” presented by the authors gives the reader a glance at a few of the arithmetical abilities of young students in the UK. The article included a few interesting comments about how the difference between students classified as “less able” might be explained. Some of the data collected about the Jailer group led the authors to make the intriguing suggestion that “slow learner” may be a misnomer. since students who belong to this category do not learn techniques more s lowly—they develop different techniques. This suggestion can be of value to those of us who keep s truggling against the notion that any kind of a “deficit” seems to automatically imply that there exists a need for direct (procedurally oriented) instruction and practice. as opposed to instruction that is conceptually focused. I think the suggestion can also provide valuable food for thought to those who use the hypothetical construct “learning rate” to draw conclusions about, and design special programs for, groups of students.

Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

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