Dialogic Teaching in Maths

2538 Words Jan 14th, 2011 11 Pages
The use of questioning and paired work in Mathematics

Traditionally, mathematics and language-based subjects have been seen as occurring on opposite sides of a great divide. However, in recent years teachers have realised the importance of talk across the curriculum including mathematics. This is supported by the DfEE (1999a, p11) who state that ‘high quality interactive teaching is oral, interactive and lively. It is a two way process in which pupils are expected to play an interactive role by answering questions, contributing points to discussions, and explaining and demonstrating their methods to the class.’ The recent Cambridge review reinforced the message that ‘teachers
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Summerfield is a multi cultural school with the majority of pupils from minority backgrounds. The proportion of children speaking English as an additional language is well above average, with almost 25 different languages represented in the school. Ofsted also noted that one in three pupils has learning difficulties and/or disabilities; which is well above the national average.

The school worked on a year and a half form entry basis and so classes were generally small. During numeracy children were divided into three ability groups and each group was taught separately. My partner and I (Miss M) worked with the lower ability group. Ofsted (2009) noted that the ‘arrangements for teaching numeracy in smaller groups have had a dramatic effect on pupils' progress, improving mathematics from a relative weakness to one of the school's strengths.’ However, doing so may mean that children know that very little is expected from them. According to Cockburn (1999, p15) ‘if a child is labelled as not being able or lacking in confidence, it may not be very long before that child ceases to perform to the best of their abilities.’

In order to ensure that we both had enough teaching opportunities we decided we would lead the class alternate lessons – whilst the other worked with a group of
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