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Creating a Context for Argument in Mathematics ClassYoung Children's Concepts of Shape

Terry Wood 

March 1999, Volume 30, Issue 2, Page 171

Evidence shows that class discussion is important in students' development of mathematical conceptions. Theoretically, the process of contradiction and resolution is central to the transformation of thought. This article is a report of an 18-month investigation of a teacher's actions during class discussions in a 2nd-grade classroom in which students' disagreement was resolved by argumentation. Although the teacher valued children's reports of their reasoning, the context of argument in discussion was characterized by the high priority she afforded their roles as critical listeners. Her sensitivity in communicating her expectations for students' participation was evident during both discussion and disagreement. Moreover, the teacher participated with the students to create patterns of interaction and discourse that enabled children to shift their cognitive attention from making social sense to making sense of their mathematical experiences.

Grade 2
Action Research
Case Study Methods
Algebraic Patterns
Conceptual Development
Math Coordinator / Coach
Problem Solving / Problem Posing
Professional Development / Teacher Education