Building a Discourse Community: Initial Practices

  • Building a Discourse Community: Initial Practices

    Lynn Liao Hodge and Ashley Walther
    Work toward building a strong foundation for future classroom discourse by asking students to solve the open-task Fencing for a Dog Pen problem.
    Although it is not a new idea, discourse continues to be a topic of discussion among teachers, teacher educators, and researchers in mathematics education. NCTM (1989; 2000) and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM 2010) describe mathematics classrooms as discourse communities in which whole-class discussions give students opportunities to share their thinking. In such discourse communities, different problem-solving approaches become explicit topics of conversation that can challenge, extend, and support all students’ understanding. Further, opportunities to engage in discourse support students in becoming more confident problem solvers (Ball 1993; Kazemi and Stipek 2001).