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What do connectionist teachers do?

The connectionist approach is well described in Effective Teachers of Numeracy in Primary Schools: Teachers' Beliefs, Practices and Pupils' Learning.

In essence, connectionist teachers:

  • have a conscious awareness of connections and relationships, and use mental mathematics to develop agility with this
  • believe that students of all levels of attainment need to be challenged in mathematics, and have high levels of expectation for all students
  • maintain a high degree of teacher–class, teacher–group, teacher–individual and student–student focussed discussion
  • believe students learn computational skills through modelling, problem-solving and investigations
  • plan their teaching around connections between ideas.

There are different levels of connectedness, which are explained in the article Connected Understanding on the AAMT website.

Curriculum links

Foundation year: Connect number names, numerals and quantities, including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond

Year 2: Explore the connection between addition and subtraction

Year 3: Recognise and explain the connection between addition and subtraction

Year 4: Recognise that the place value system can be extended to tenths and hundredths. Make connections between fractions and decimal notation

Year 5: Connect three-dimensional objects with their nets and other two-dimensional representations

Year 6: Make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages

Year 6: Connect decimal representations to the metric system

Year 6: Connect volume and capacity and their units of measurement

Year 7: Connect fractions, decimals and percentages and carry out simple conversions

Year 10: Connect the compound interest formula to repeated applications of simple interest using appropriate digital technologies

Year 10: Explore the connection between algebraic and graphical representations of relations such as simple quadratics, circles and exponentials using digital technology as appropriate