Q&A #3678


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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Apr 16, 2000 at 17:07:39
Subject: Re: Manipulatives

I can give you my personal opinion of the positive and negative aspects of using manipulatives. I think that different students learn in different ways. One way that is sometimes de-emphasized is the need for kinesthetic learning and also spatial visualization. When manipulatives are used the senses are brought into learning - students can touch and move the objects to make a visual representation of the abstract symbols whether they be just numbers or operations on those numbers. Besides playing to those students who learn best this way, it affords the teacher another method for visiting a topic. I like to teach using at least three methods including use of manipulatives, technology and also paper/pencil. It lengthens the time that we spend on a topic which allows more learning time for the students and also the possibility that one of the methods reaches the student. The negative aspects, in my opinion, is that the teacher only uses a manipulative method and there is no attempt to create a transference from the manipulative idea to the paper/pencil problem. In California our students (and soon the teachers) are judged using standardized tests. Teachers who just use manipulatives as an activity "break" from their textbook curriculum are missing an opportunity for more complete learning. Perhaps some of the other mentors will state their opinions too, but these are mine. -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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