ERIC Number: ED392775
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
"The Big Old Conversation": Reflections on Mathematical Tasks and Discourse. NCRTL Craft Paper 95-5.
Beasley, Kathrene; Featherstone, Helen
A third-grade teacher and a teacher educator argue that, in an elementary mathematics class in which the teacher is encouraging the children to communicate and justify their mathematical ideas, the features of a mathematical task shape the mathematical discourse. They conjecture that divergent tasks, problems with many correct answers, may generate discourse in which students find it difficult to connect their classmates' ideas to their own and to listen to them with interest and respect. On the other hand, convergent tasks that point the students in the direction of a single answer appear to create an instructional context in which students may find it easier to connect to and care about other children's solutions and ideas. Two class lessons are discussed that illustrate the connections found between tasks and discourse in the mathematics classroom when teaching the concept of negative numbers. (NAV)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Communication (Thought Transfer), Convergent Thinking, Discourse Modes, Divergent Thinking, Elementary School Mathematics, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Teachers, Grade 3, Mathematics Instruction, Primary Education, Problem Solving, Questioning Techniques, Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching Methods
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, 116 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034 ($5.41).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Researchers; Practitioners
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, East Lansing, MI.