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Orchestrating Mathematical Discourse to Enhance Student Learning

College and Career Readiness Standards for Mathematics

The importance of engaging students in meaningful mathematical discussion has long been identified as an essential component of students’ mathematics learning (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1991, 2000, 2007, 2014). When students share and exchange their ideas, both they and their teachers benefit. Students can reflect on their own understanding while making sense of and critiquing the ideas of others in a collaborative and supportive learning environment, as required by the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice. They can make conjectures, link prior knowledge to current understanding, reason about mathematics, refine and amend their approaches, and take ownership of their mathematical knowledge. Students can learn to use the tools of mathematical discourse— including words, symbols, diagrams, physical models, and technology—to present and defend their ideas. Teachers benefit too, because they have the opportunity to access, monitor, and evaluate students’ mathematical understanding and development..

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