Numeracy Practices at School

Engagement, Coded Questions and Switching

Having set the scene for our thematic analysis through case studies of selected children and accounts of the three schools in which we conducted research, we would like to begin the ‘Themes’ Section by looking more closely at numeracy practices at school. In keeping with the general principle running throughout this book, we will keep in mind home practices as we look at school and then, in Chapter 7, keep in mind school practices as we look more closely at homes. Chapter 8 then focuses on the relationship between schools and homes.

These three concepts, then, can be thought of as emergent themes, in the sense that we did not set out with them in mind at the beginning of the research, but they kept pressing themselves on us through our encounters with the schools, the children and their parents. In that sense the data generated some of the concepts although we did, of course, as we explain in Chapters 2 and 3, begin with some theoretical and conceptual apparatus that itself began to generate data. Whilst the notion of numeracy events and practices preceded the research, the particular features of these events and practices that we identify here – engagement, coded questions and switching – emerged from the data. This dialectic relationship between concepts and data represents one of the major features of ethnographic-style research and writing (cf Agar, 1996; Hammersley, 1992; Silverman, 1993) to which we are committed.


Social Relation Discursive Practice Numeracy Event Conceptual Apparatus Discourse Pattern 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

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