Where Theory Does not Meet the Practice: Teaching Math to Young Children in Turkey

Alat Z.

Adıyaman Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Dergisi, vol.9, no.1, pp.1-20, 2019 (National Refreed University Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Title of Journal : Adıyaman Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Dergisi
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-20


The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how teachers of young children provide math education in their classrooms in Turkey. More specifically, attention was paid to reveal the levels of math skills and concepts that were addressed in, and pedagogical approaches that were characterized the math practices in two pre-k programs. Data was obtained through observations and interviews. Content analysis of the data revealed that there was a disregard for individual differences, and children's informal math experiences, knowledge and skills. Children had to spend hours in teacher directed activities that mostly comprised of worksheets without much use of manipulatives or technology. Connections between children's real lives and teaching activities were rarely made. There is an urgent need for ongoing and extensive teacher development programs in which teachers could see value in recommended teaching practices; find plenty of opportunities to observe, experiment, and implement good practices; receive and provide feedback in a network of professionals. Partnership between universities and schools should become more effective and not be limited to curriculum development or one-shot training sessions.