Using Mathematical Tasks Arising from Contexts

  • Peter Sullivan
  • Doug Clarke
  • Barbara Clarke
Part of the Mathematics Teacher Education book series (MTEN, volume 104)


This chapter describes the second of the types of tasks that we focused on in our project. We argue consistently throughout this book that a teacher’s choice and use of tasks is a major determinant of the nature and quality of student learning in the mathematics classroom. In this chapter, we present data from teachers indicating that the use of tasks built around practical (or “real”) contexts can make mathematics “come alive” for students through showing them a purpose for what they are studying and making mathematics more engaging for them. We also note that teachers were not unanimous in viewing the use of contextualised tasks positively. We also discuss the ways in which three teachers used a single task in quite different ways and how the influence of their individual mathematical confidence and preparation for a lesson yielded very different responses from the students.


Word Problem Mathematics Classroom Contextualise Task Student Choice Realistic Mathematic Education 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Sullivan
    • 1
  • Doug Clarke
    • 2
  • Barbara Clarke
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Mathematics Teaching and Learning Research CentreAustralian Catholic UniversityFitzroyAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia

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