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ERIC Number: EJ1178998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Making Room for Inspecting Mistakes
Lischka, Alyson E.; Gerstenschlager, Natasha E.; Stephens, D. Christopher; Strayer, Jeremy F.; Barlow, Angela T.
Mathematics Teacher, v111 n6 p432-439 Apr 2018
Mistakes can be a source of frustration for teachers and students in mathematics classrooms because they reveal potential misunderstandings or a lack of learning. However, increasing evidence shows that making mistakes creates productive pathways for learning new ideas and building new concepts (Boaler 2016; Borasi 1996). Learning through examination of mistakes can be a "springboard for inquiry" (Borasi 1996), presenting an opportunity for students to engage in the first and third of the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP 1): "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them"; and SMP 3: "Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others" (Common Core State Standards Initiative 2010). Making the examination of mistakes a classroom goal leads to two questions: (1) How do teachers decide whether a mistake is worthy of examination during class time?; and (2) How can teachers make time during class for students to examine mistakes and learn from them? In this article, the authors answer these two questions by discussing sample criteria that they use for determining which mistakes are valuable for class inspection and by offering suggestions for orchestrating class inspection of mistakes in mathematics classrooms.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A