A dialogic approach to developing mathematics proficiencies: How Year 2 students talk their way into reasoning mathematically.

Year: 2019

Author: Garoni, Stephanie, Edwards-Groves, Christine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper, dialogic practices in the classroom are investigated with particular emphasis on findings from a Year 2 mathematics classroom in regional Australia. A case for further research into dialogic teaching is presented as a platform for informing and better equipping teachers as they make daily instructional choices that create opportunities for students to develop mathematics proficiencies in their everyday lessons. While dialogic practices in the classroom is not a new field of inquiry, very little is known about how these practices can lead to better learning outcomes and conceptual understanding for students in mathematics. There exists an absence of empirical work investigating how the four mathematical proficiencies or ‘process strands’ in the Australian Curriculum (understanding, fluency, problem-solving and reasoning) are socially produced in the everyday practices of students and teachers. This paper examines the accomplishment of the mathematics proficiency of reasoning by employing conversation analysis to explore how it as interactionally accomplished in Year 2 lessons. Through the detailed analysis of classroom talk-in-interaction, an account of how students reason mathematically is provided. In this way, the paper contributes understandings of how students develop an increasingly sophisticated capacity for logical thought and actions by ‘talking through their way into thinking’ during Year 2 lessons. It explores the practices that enable and constrain opportunities for students to access important interactional resources as they transfer their learning from one context to another.

Three key findings emerging from the research include:

* Finding 1: Dialogic practices that encourage students to make choices, seek solutions, verify answers, communicate solutions and explain their thinking during lessons are planned and implemented by the teacher with these goals in mind.
* Finding 2: The interactional arrangements of the Year 2 classroom provide students with enhanced opportunities to develop dialogic spaces that develop mathematical reasoning through student-student talk.
* Finding 3: Certain practices are employed by Year 2 students as interactional resources to accomplish different activities that support mathematical reasoning.

The paper will explore transcripts of Year 2 lessons to reveal how the mathematics proficiency of reasoning is socially accomplished through the local, situated and contingent organisation of dialogic practices between students and students, and students and their teacher. In particular, it will analyse examples of ‘student to student’ talk to investigate how they explain their thinking by deducing and justifying strategies used and conclusions reached.