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How K-12 Classroom Discourse Can Develop Mathematical Thinkers and Problem Solvers

Authored by Cathy Seeley

For many adults, and even many of today’s students, math class is a place where a teacher talks and students listen, responding only when called on to answer a question. Much of this shift is attributable to differences in the nature of discourse in the classroom: Who talks, and what do they talk about? Who asks questions, and what kinds of questions do they ask? What are students thinking, and how do they back up their ideas? Such questions provide hints about the kind of classroom discourse that best supports student learning and how we can create an environment in which rich discourse can take place.

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