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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