Low-Performing Students and Teaching Fractions for Understanding: An Interactional Analysis
Susan B. Empson
July 2003, Volume 34, Issue 4, Page 305
This article presents an analysis of two low-performing students' experiences in a firstgrade classroom oriented toward teaching mathematics for understanding. Combining constructs from interactional sociolinguistics and developmental task analysis, I investigate the nature of these students' participation in classroom discourse about fractions. Pre- and post-instruction interviews documenting learning and analysis of classroom interactions suggest mechanisms of that learning. I propose that three main factors account for these two students' success: use of tasks that elicited the students' prior understanding, creation of a variety of participant frameworks (Goffman, 1981) in which the students were treated as mathematically competent, and frequency of opportunities for identity-enhancing interactions.
Fractions / Decimals / Percents / Rational Numbers
Problem Solving / Problem Posing
Professional Development / Teacher Education