
02348430
j
2002f.04823
Sherin, Miriam Gamoran
A balancing act: Developing a discourse community in a mathematics classroom.
J. Math. Teach. Educ. 5, No. 3, 205233 (2002).
2002
Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
EN
C53
studentcentred discourse
teacher cognition
doi:10.1023/A:1020134209073
This article examines the pedagogical tensions involved in trying to use students' ideas as the basis for class discussion while also ensuring that discussion is productive mathematically. The data for this study of the teaching of one middleschool teacher come from observations and videotapes of instruction across a school year as well as interviews with the participating teacher. Specifically, the article describes the teacher's attempts to support a studentcentered process of mathematical discourse and, at the same time, facilitate discussions of significant mathematical content. The tension in teaching was not easily resolved; throughout the school year the teacher shifted his emphasis between maintaining the process and the content of the classroom discourse. Nevertheless, at times, the teacher balanced these competing goals by using a 'filtering approach' to classroom discourse. First multiple ideas are solicited from students to facilitate the process of studentcentered mathematical discourse. Students are encouraged to elaborate their thinking, and to compare and evaluate their ideas with those that have already been suggested. Then, to bring the content to the fore, the teacher filters the ideas, focusing students' attention on a subset of the mathematical ideas that have been raised. Finally, the teacher encourages studentcentered discourse about these ideas, thus maintaining a balance between process and content.