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Strategy Use professional literature to learn to facilitate mathematical discussions


This strategy draws on the professional literature as a resource to help teachers learn to broaden mathematical discussions and questions used in classrooms. Engaging in mathematical talk deepens studentsí understanding and helps them develop and demonstrate their mathematical knowledge and skills. The key is a change of roles with teachers moving toward:
  • facilitating rather than dominating discussion among students of their reasoning on substantial problems-not just asking questions of fact.
  • choosing substantial problems worthy of such discussion
  • increasing studentsí responsibility for exploring each problem and explaining and justifying their own solutions.

The tools provide models and methods for engaging students in mathematical discussions and creating classroom cultures where mathematical talk is valued. Each tool contains guidance for classroom use and glimpses into classrooms where mathematical talk is evident through student work, video, or teacher dialogue. The resources also provide research evidence on the role of talk in developing mathematical understanding.

The "download extended report" includes a full description of this strategy along with planning essentials, budget issues, benefits and implementation pitfalls, and evaluative evidence.

Applicable tools

Challenges addressed

Complementary strategies