Let's Talk about the Weather: Lessons Learned in Facilitating Mathematical Discourse

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  • 1 mathematics education faculty member at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122.

One idea that has gained considerable attention in mathematics education is that teachers should become facilitators of mathematical discourse (Bush and Kincer 1993; Hiebert and Wearne 1993; NCTM 1991). Mathematical discourse should encourage student interpretations of a mathematical task and student-tostudent interactions (Lo and Wheatley 1994). In the majority of American classrooms, few interactions occur, because teachers dominate the discourse by asking all the questions (Cazden 1988); and if students do not know, the teachers also give the answers. As a result, “teaching by telling” is the most common pedagogy. One alternative to this practice is constructivist teaching.


Jacqueline Leonard taught for sixteen years in grades K–6.

Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School


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