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Strategies for Discussion Clip

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Over the past 15 years, the field has begun to tackle the problem of providing teachers with guidelines and tools to support the facilitation of productive classroom discussions. Ten strategies for facilitating productive discussions are listed below:
 

  • Attend to the classroom culture 
  • Choose high-level mathematics tasks 
  • Anticipate strategies that students might use to solve the tasks and monitor their work 
  • Allow student thinking to shape discussions 
  • Examine and plan questions 
  • Be strategic about “telling” new information 
  • Explore incorrect solutions 
  • Select and sequence the ideas to be shared in the discussion 
  • Use Teacher Discourse Moves to move the mathematics forward 
  • Draw connections and summarize the discussion 

Discussions can provide students with opportunities to learn by talking with their peers and by engaging in argumentation, justification, and reasoning in whole-class discussions. In discussion-oriented classrooms, students’ responses inform the teacher questions and shape the course of the classroom talk. In particular, the teacher validates particular students’ ideas by incorporating their responses into subsequent questions.

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