Working with mathematics teachers to develop whole-class talk

A Centre for Research in Mathematics Education Seminar presented by Dr Jenni Ingram and Nick Andrews, Oxford University Department of Education.

Talk plays an important role in broadening a student’s mathematical vocabulary, bringing increased lucidity to their explanations, and more generally developing and communicating their mathematical understanding. However this raises the question of how teachers can provide opportunities for students to develop what we succinctly label talk in mathematics (TiM). In this seminar we report on the first year of a two-year collaboration between two teams of teachers from local secondary schools and three researchers, who together have sought to address this question.

Previous research has identified the way teachers initiate sequences of interactions, the emphasis on technical vocabulary and the use of pauses as classroom-level factors that might influence the quality of TiM. In each cycle of the project we have explored together one of these factors, blending teaching experiences, previous research findings and classroom data from other studies using each to interrogate the other. This has allowed us to exemplify different ways of realising effective strategies that support the development of TiM. An emergent question is what counts as a mathematical explanation, and we will discuss the progress we have made so far in addressing this question.

Speaker biographies:

Dr Jenni Ingram
Jenni joined the Department of Education, University of Oxford in 2013. She studied mathematics at the University of Warwick before completing a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics. She taught mathematics in comprehensive schools in the Coventry area and completed her PhD in Mathematics Education at the University of Warwick. Her current research interests include discourse and communication in the secondary mathematics classroom. In particular looking at how the ways teachers introduce and interact with students as a whole class on tasks affects the mathematical experiences of the students.

Nick Andrews
Nick’s DPhil thesis focuses on mathematical classroom activities (eg tasks, discussions, expositions) proposed by a teacher during a series of lessons on a given topic. The outcomes of his research are multi-layered structural descriptions of the teaching of particular topics to different classes, highlighting what was made available, how and when.

Refreshments will be available.

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