How can students learn from discussing mathematics?
If students are to make sense of mathematical concepts, then they will need opportunities to share, discuss and work together. Research has shown that cooperative small group work has positive effects on learning, but that this is dependent on the existence of shared goals for the group and individual accountability for the attainment of these goals. It has also been seen to have a positive effect on social skills and self-esteem (Askew & Wiliam, 1995).
In many classrooms, however, traditional transmission teaching styles have reduced both the quantity and quality of student-student discussion. In others, students do work and talk together, but this talk does not always profit learning.
This unit is designed to offer the professional development provider some resources that will help teachers to:
- consider the characteristics of student-student discussion that benefit learning;
- recognize and face their own worries about introducing collaborative discussion;
- explore techniques for promoting effective student-student discussion;
- consider their own role in managing student-student discussion;
- plan discussion based lessons.
About the MAP PD Modules
These modules have been developed for MAP by drawing on professional development materials developed by the Shell Centre team at the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education, University of Nottingham. Many of these materials were originally written for two projects:
- Bowland Maths is a project aimed at developing the key processes involved in mathematical problem solving, using a range of realistic and fantasy scenarios. This was funded by the Bowland Charitable Trust.
- Improving Learning in Mathematics is a project aimed at developing the understanding of mathematical concepts. This was originally funded by the Department for Education and Skills Standards Unit.
Download the print materials (links on the left) and read the main Module Guide.
Use the "Video" tab at the top of the screen to see the video which accompanies this module.