Teacher interventions as an analytical entry point to study co-operative learning in middle school mathematics classrooms in Beijing

Year: 2012

Author: Dong, Lianchun, Cao, Yiming

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Cooperative learning has been emphasized in China since the initiation of curriculum reform in mathematics in 2003. In recent years, many mathematics teachers in China have begun to investigate how cooperative learning could be employed in classrooms with more than 50 students. In this study, a teacher intervention was operationally defined as a sequence of speaker turns in which the teacher and students in a cooperative-learning group addressed one another regarding an assigned problem. Different teacher interventions exert different impacts on the group. This study investigates when the teacher chose to initiate a teacher intervention and what actions the teacher took during such interventions. Analysis reveals the tension between well-established interactive patterns derived from whole class discussion and individual guidance and the new demands of promoting student cooperative learning. This analytical approach identifies those student performances in cooperative learning that are given more attention (and therefore performatively valued) by teachers.