Teaching with Variation
The central idea of teaching with variation is to highlight the essential features of the concepts through varying the non-essential features. Gu, Huang & Marton, 2004
Conceptual Variation: What it is in all its different forms
True or False?: What is it and what is it not?
Variation Versus Variety
‘Pick and mix’
Most practice exercises contain variety
Careful choice of WHAT to vary
Careful choice of what the variation will draw attention to
Compare the two sets of calculations.
What’s the same, what’s different? Consider how variation can both narrow and broaden the focus.
Looking at all aspects of the concept.
Tasks which challenge and provoke reasoning about concepts
2 paper tapes were broken, can you guess which original paper tape is longer? Why? How do you get your answer?
In designing the exercises below the teacher is advised to avoid mechanical repetition and to create an appropriate path for practising the thinking process with increasing creativity .
What is varying and what is not? – What is being drawn attention to?
Intelligent practice provides :
- Practice in calculation
- Opportunities to spot relationships and make connections
- Deepen conceptual understanding
- Develop fluency and make connections
Procedural fluency and conceptual understanding are developed in tandem.