for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Karin Brodie - Vol. 27 Num. 1 (2007)
 Teaching with conversations: beginnings and endings


A key aspect of what is know as 'reform' pedagogy in many countries is supporting learners' conversations about their mathematical thinking. This article suggests that we will make progress in understanding mathematical conversations if we consider that they have different phases, which require different kinds of work from teachers. I discuss beginnings and endings of conversations, drawing on data from two conversations in high school mathematics classrooms in Johannesburg. I discuss similarities and differences in how the teachers began and ended the conversations, drawing out implications for other teachers and teacher educators. I also argue that, in these cases, beginning conversations was easier than ending them.