The Importance of Math Discourse
Math Talk provides students an opportunity for deeper understanding through communication. Individually or in groups, students articulate and defend their ideas and analyze the reasoning of others.
Teachers will gain the ability to assess student knowledge through asking “good questions,” and align instruction to ensure each student understands how to use math skills through thinking, talking, and doing.
Why Math Talk™?
Five Major Reasons That Talk Is Critical to Teaching and Learning
- Talk can reveal understanding and misunderstanding.
- Talk supports robust learning by boosting memory.
- Talk supports deeper reasoning.
- Talk supports language development.
- Talk supports development of social skills.
Using communication in the classroom to represent, explain, justify, agree, and disagree shapes the way students learn mathematics. Classroom dialogue engages students, encourages them to learn more, and allows for the exploration of ideas, strategies, procedures, facts, and more.
Affecting the way ideas are exchanged and developed, Math Talk supports a social learning environment for children—creating a community of encouragement, respect, and the exchange of ideas.
Asking Good Questions
Asking good questions is a fundamental part of teaching and learning mathematics for students and teachers in every grade. Knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them is essential for teachers to effectively incorporate math discourse in the classroom.
What are good questions?
“Good” questions give students an in-depth and tangible mathematics experience. Open questions that encourage students to think, analyze, criticize, and solve unfamiliar problems. Good questions:
- Require more than remembering a fact or reproducing a skill and develop students’ higher levels of thinking
- Have more than one correct answer or approach
- Allow students to learn by answering them
- Help teachers learn about the student—providing insight into how each student thinks, what they know, and the connections they are making
- Use accessible language and offer a universal entry point for all students
- Create a sense of wonder and encourage students to construct new questions themselves
Math Talk provides teachers with the information they need to ask good questions, connect discourse to informative assessment, and adjust instruction to meet individual needs.
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