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ERIC Number: EJ775296
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Sep
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
Relational, Instrumental and Creative Understanding
Reason, Melanie
Mathematics Teaching, n184 p5-7 Sep 2003
An article by Skemp (1976) on mathematical understanding describes two different types of "understanding", "relational" understanding which he initially describes simply as "knowing both what to do and why", and "instrumental" understanding which he describes in the first instance as "rules without reasons". In this article, the author highlights the differences in the types of learning by using Skemp's language to make the classifications. She used Skemp's formulation to see whether she would be able to distinguish two types of pupil-learning in practice in order to contrast the behaviour of an instrumental and relational learner in the classroom. (Contains 1 table.)
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A