Developing teacher-student-talk in the secondary maths classroom

Overview

This was a collaborative project with two mathematics departments from Deanery Schools focusing on developing a way of teachers working together to improve their own practice in terms of supporting their students’ use of mathematical language in their classrooms. The collaborative design of the project was based on video club research from the Open University and from the US, drawing extensively on John Mason’s work on teachers researching their own practice. The focus on language also built on extensive research, including our own, on classroom interaction, vocabulary learning and language practices within mathematics.

How the research was carried out

Each mathematics department met regularly with members of the mathematics education team from Oxford University over two years. The mathematics teachers videoed themselves teaching and then one of them would share a short clip from one of their videos that interested them or that they found problematic in some way during the meeting. The meetings then focused on watching and re-watching this clip, unpicking what was happening, and then exploring ways of acting differently in a similar situation. The changes in the teachers’ practices and the language use of the students in the mathematics lessons were tracked through the videos and recordings of the meetings and have been used to inform the creation of professional development materials (which are now being finalised to share through the Deanery).

Findings – implications for teachers

The main outcome of the project will be the professional development materials both on using video clubs for professional development, and on supporting students’ language use in mathematics. These are currently in development. The key elements of the video club approach were the teachers analysing their own teaching and thinking about the choices available to them in their own practice, and discussing these within the supportive group of colleagues and researchers. These choices included thinking about when to pause and allow students time to think, when and how to introduce technical language, different ways of enabling and supporting students to use technical language for themselves in meaningful ways.

Want to know more about pause and time for students to think? Click on WaitTime

Authors

Jenni Ingram and Nick Andrews (University of Oxford Mathematics Education team)

Contact information For more information, please contact Jenni Ingram (jenni.ingram@education.ox.ac.uk).

This project was funded by a John Fell Fund small grant.

Contacts

Dr Jenni Ingram
Department of Education
Dr Nick Andrews
Department of Education

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