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Why promote communication in math classrooms?
- Mathematical thinking of students is aided by hearing what their peers are thinking.
- Putting thoughts into words pushes students to clarify their thinking.
- Teachers can spot student misunderstandings much more easily when they are revealed in discussion instead of remaining unspoken.
What is Discourse in the Mathematics Classroom?
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in their 1991 professional standards describes discourse as ways of representing, thinking, talking, agreeing, and disagreeing; the way ideas are exchanged and what the ideas entail; and as being shaped by the tasks in which students engage as well as by the nature of the learning environment.
Moves for Supporting Productive Talk
- Revoicing: Teacher repeats some or all of what the
- student has said. Students verify what was said.
- Repeating: Asking students to restate someone else’s
- Reasoning: Asking students to apply their own
- reasoning to someone else’s reasoning.
- Adding on: Prompting students for further participation.
- Waiting: Using wait time.