The purpose of this paper is to explore how master mathematics teachers use the
concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) sequence of instruction in mathematics
classrooms. Data was collected from a convenience sample of six master teachers
by observations, video recordings of their teaching, and semi-structured interviews.
Data collection also included focus-group interviews with learners. In South Africa,
master teachers are considered expert teachers in their discipline. The master
teachers in this study were selected by the Department of Education based on their
many years of teaching experience; in addition, these selected master teachers
taught at six different Dinaledi schools in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). A key finding
of this research demonstrated that the use of the CRA instructional sequence was
paramount for the effective teaching of mathematics. This instructional sequence
was found to be predetermined as well as intuitive. The CRA instruction may be used
in classrooms where learners are not streamed into ability levels, as is the case with
the majority of schools in South Africa. These findings are important for shaping both
teacher and curriculum development.