When the Task Is Not Just a Task: What One Mathematics Teacher Learned about Facilitating Student Discourse.Report as inadecuate

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This study used a sociolinguistic and micro-ethnographic approach to examine whether the setting of a mathematics task had an impact on the type and quality of classroom discourse, and it described the teacher's conflicts and resolutions in facilitating student discourse in a sixth-grade mathematics classroom. Data collection occurred from January to February of 1997. Twelve students in a suburban Maryland elementary school participated. The students were presented with three 2-week units over the 6-week study. They worked in groups of four and were switched to different small groups after each unit was taught. They applied their mathematical knowledge to complete hands-on geometry investigations. The researcher videotaped students as they performed activities in each of three task settings: applied, integrated, and abstract. The students completed three interviews (one after each unit). Data analysis examined students' participating behaviors and factors influencing the amount and quality of student discourse. Results found five types of participating behavior (giving information, asking or requesting information, directing others, helping others, and agreeing or disagreeing with others). Teacher variables significantly influenced the types of participating behavior. Variables included teacher pedagogical content knowledge, teacher questioning strategies, use of instructional strategies, and classroom norms. The quality of student discourse depended on the background knowledge students could apply to the task. (Contains 21 references.) (SM)

Descriptors: Discussion (Teaching Technique), Elementary School Mathematics, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Teachers, Grade 6, Intermediate Grades, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Teachers, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Student Behavior, Student Participation, Teacher Influence, Thinking Skills

Author: Leonard, Jacqueline

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=8009&id=ED429953

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