Teachers attending to students’ reasoning

John M. Francisco and Carolyn A. Maher have written an article about Teachers attending to students’ mathematical reasoning: lessons from an after-school research program. This article was published online in Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education last Thursday. This article is interesting in several respects, amongst others because awareness of and knowledge about students’ mathematical reasoning is something teachers need, and it should be part of every mathematics teacher’s professional knowledge. Theoretically, it builds upon Shulman’s classic framework, but they also make interesting links to a focus on practitioner-researcher collaboration. The article reports on a study that was made of “elementary and middle school teachers who participated as interns in the 1-year NSF-funded Informal Mathematical Learning Project (IML)”. Here is a copy of the abstract of their article:

There is a documented need for more opportunities for teachers to learn about students’ mathematical reasoning. This article reports on the experiences of a group of elementary and middle school mathematics teachers who participated as interns in an after-school, classroom-based research project on the development of mathematical ideas involving middle-grade students from an urban, low-income, minority community in the United States. For 1 year, the teachers observed the students working on well-defined mathematical investigations that provided a context for the students’ formation of particular mathematical ideas and different forms of reasoning in several mathematical content strands. The article describes insights into students’ mathematical reasoning that the teachers were able to gain from their observations of the students’ mathematical activity. The purpose is to show that teachers’ observations of students’ mathematical activity in research sessions on students’ development of mathematical ideas can provide opportunities for teachers to learn about students’ mathematical reasoning.

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