Supporting Novice Teachers in Leading Discussions That Reach a Mathematical Point: Defining and Clarifying Mathematical Ideas

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  • 1 University of Minnesota
  • 2 University of Utah
  • 3 University of Saint Joseph

Leading a whole-class mathematics discussion is complex work. The teacher must attend to and respond to student thinking while continually keeping the mathematical goals of the discussion in mind. This work is especially challenging for novice teachers who are just learning to facilitate classroom talk. We present a new sortingtask instructional activity designed to support novice secondary teachers in steering a discussion toward a mathematical point while eliciting and making use of student thinking. We describe our efforts to support novice teachers through learning about, rehearsing, enacting, and reflecting on this sorting task. We document the impact of these supports for the novice teachers, and share ways that other teacher educators can take up this structure.

Contributor Notes

Erin E. Baldinger, University of Minnesota, STEM Educational Center, 1954 Buford Avenue, 320 LES, St. Paul, MN 55108;

Sarah Kate Selling, University of Utah, 1721 Campus Center Drive, SAEC 3286, Salt Lake City, UT 84112;

Rajeev Virmani, University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117-2791;

(Corresponding author is Baldinger author is Selling author is Virmani
Mathematics Teacher Educator


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