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Children's Mathematical Thinking in Different Classroom Cultures

Terry Woods, Gaye Williams, Betsy McNeal 

May 2006, Volume 37, Issue 3, Page 222

The relationship between normative patterns of social interaction and children's mathematical thinking was investigated in 5 classes (4 reform and 1 conventional) of 7- to 8-year-olds. In earlier studies, lessons from these classes had been analyzed for the nature of interaction broadly defined; the results indicated the   existence of 4 types of classroom cultures (conventional textbook, conventional problem solving, strategy reporting, and inquiry/argument). In   the current study, 42 lessons from this data resource were analyzed for children's mathematical thinking as verbalized in class discussions and for interaction patterns. These analyses were then combined to explore the relationship between interaction types and expressed mathematical thinking. The results suggest that increased complexity in children's expressed mathematical thinking was closely related to the types of interaction patterns that differentiated  class discussions among the 4 classroom cultures. 

Grade 1
Grade 2
Conceptual Development
Numbers and Operations
Problem Solving / Problem Posing
Professional Development / Teacher Education