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Underpinning CPA with research – part 2

How does CPA fit in contemporary research on learning?
- Singapore and cognitive psychology

In this second part, we highlight the Singapore context for CPA and cover so-called ‘concreteness fading’. This technique begins with concrete materials and then explicitly and gradually fades to the more abstract (see Fyfe et al., 2014, for a review).

This technique specifically:

  1. Helps learners to interpret ambiguous or opaque abstract symbols in terms of well-understood concrete objects.
  2. Provides embodied perceptual and physical experiences that can ground abstract thinking.
  3. Enables learners to build up a store of memorable images that can be used when abstract symbols lose meaning.
  4. Guides learners to strip away extraneous concrete properties and distil the generic, generalisable properties.


Fyfe, E., McNeil, N.M., Son, J.Y., & Goldstone, R.L. (2014). Concreteness fading in mathematics and science instruction: A systematic review. Educational Psychology Review , 26, 9–25.

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