Learning to Estimate in the Mathematics Classroom: A Conversation-Analytic Approach
Michael A. Forrester, Christopher D. Pike
May 1998, Volume 29, Issue 3, Page 334
In contrast to contemporary estimation researchers who have focused primarily on children's computational estimation abilities, we examined the ideas surrounding the teaching and learning of measurement estimation in the classroom. Employing ethnomethodologically informed conversation analysis, we focused on 2 teachers' instructions during estimation lessons and on pupils' (aged 9-11 years) talk during small-group follow-up activities. The results indicated that estimation is understood as discursively interdependent with measurement and is associated both with teacher-formulated accountability and with vagueness, ambiguity, and guessing. Furthermore, the meaning of what it is to estimate is embedded in practical action. In concluding comments we consider the advantages of using conversational analysis as a method for highlighting the relationships between language and mathematics in the classroom.
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