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  • Author or Editor: Eva Thanheiser x
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Kathleen Melhuish, Eva Thanheiser and Joshua Fagan

In classrooms, students engage in argumentation through justifying and generalizing. However, these activities can be difficult for teachers to conceptualize and therefore promote in their classrooms. In this article, we present the Student Discourse Observation Tool (SDOT) developed to support teachers in noticing and promoting student justifying and generalizing. The SDOT serves the purpose of (a) focusing teacher noticing on student argumentation during classroom observations, and (b) promoting focused discussion of student discourse in teacher professional learning communities. We provide survey data illustrating that elementary-level teachers who participated in professional development leveraging the SDOT had richer conceptions of justifying and generalizing and greater ability to characterize students' justifying and generalizing when compared with a set of control teachers. We argue that the SDOT provides both an important focusing lens for teachers and a means to concretize the abstract mathematical activities of justifying and generalizing.

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Eva Thanheiser, Randolph A. Philipp, Jodi Fasteen, Krista Strand and Briana Mills

Helping prospective elementary school teachers (PSTs) recognize that they have something useful to learn from university mathematics courses remains a constant challenge. We found that an initial content interview with PSTs often led to the PSTs' changing their beliefs about mathematics and about their understanding of mathematics, leading to the recognition that (a) there is something to learn beyond procedures, (b) their own knowledge is limited and they need to know more to be able to teach, and (c) engaging in the mathematical activities in their content courses will lead them to learning important content. Thus, such an interview can set PSTs on a trajectory characterized by greater motivation to learn in their content courses.