Mathematical games are widely employed by Australian primary school teachers to support mathematics instruction. Despite broad usage, prior research has not focused on the how and why games are employed from a teacher perspective. Australian primary school teachers (n = 248) completed a questionnaire designed to probe their experience with mathematical games in the classroom, specifically; motivation for and frequency of game usage, game execution within lesson routines and structures, and, perceptions of the efficacy of games to achieve pedagogical objectives. Almost all the primary teachers self-reported playing mathematical games in their classrooms a minimum of once a week. Games were utilised in differing pedagogical capacities, for example, as a ‘warm-up’ exercise, to introduce new mathematical concepts, to consolidate skills and knowledge, and for fluency practice. Consistent with prior research, teachers viewed games as highly effective for engaging students in mathematics. Teachers also viewed games as being effective for developing all four proficiencies highlighted in the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics (ACARA, 2019); fluency, understanding, problem-solving, and reasoning. Interestingly, despite the burgeoning use of digital games, only two out of the 248 teachers surveyed mentioned a computer game or digital application as their favourite game to use in a mathematics lesson. A substantial majority of teachers nominated favourite games that involved minimal or no materials, in particular, playing cards and/ or dice, pen and paper, and oral games. Implications of these findings are discussed and future research directions are recommended. This study has taken steps towards deepening our mathematics educational community’s understanding of primary teachers’ use and experience of games.
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