14 SES 12 A JS, Mathematics for All: Interactive and Dialogic Strategies to Success in Primary Mathematics
Symposium Joint Session NW 14 with NW 24
The socio-cultural tradition suggests that the development of the higher psychological processes occurs in the social life (Vygotski, Bruner, Moll, etc.). Individuals involved in the learning process (peers, teachers, adults participating in the teaching process) act as mediators. Bruner and his collaborators in 1976 created the metaphor of scaffolding to go into detail about the idea of zone of proximal development developed by Vygotsky half a century before. In their research they found out that the intervention of the tutor in the learning process involves something more than the simple imitation: the interaction with the tutor “enables a child or novice to solve a problem, carry out a task or achieve a goal which would be beyond his unassisted efforts.” (Wood, Bruner and Ross, 1976, p. 90). Later research has demonstrated that students become subcommunities of mutual learners, that share their learning through dialogue. Dialogue (as an expression of an argumentation process seeking knowledge, as defined by Habermas, 1984), becomes a tool for learning (Flecha, 2000). Recent research in the field of mathematics education corroborates this interpretation (Zack & Graves, 2001). The use of new supports to design and solve mathematical tasks, like the case of digital technology (tablets, etc.), raise the question that if the dialogic forms of interaction that the prior research has demonstrated to promote learning [of mathematics] also take place in this new type of scenarios, mediated by technology. In this paper we use discourse analysis to study the dialogues produced in the mathematics classroom contexts organized in interactive groups in a primary sixth grade classroom. Children solve the tasks while parents (volunteers) encourage interaction. The mathematical tasks are presented in tablets, and both students as other participants use these tools to solve the mathematical tasks. The interactions and dialogues produced in the classroom are registered on video. Communicative methodology is used to analyze the arguments used by the children when solving the mathematical tasks on the tablets. It can be concluded that the tablets become artifacts that help them learn mathematics while students solve the tasks. Tablets act as an instrument of psychological activity given that promotes the mathematical discussion on the basis of verifiable arguments. The effort of children to convince others of their arguments, suggest that learning is taking place.
Flecha, R. (2000). Sharing words: Theory and practice of dialogic learning. Rowman & Littlefield. Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action: Vol. 1. Reason and the rationalization of society. Boston: Beacon. Wood, D., Bruner, J.S., & Ross, G. (1986). The role of tutoring in problema solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), 89-100 Zack, V. & Graves, B. (2001). Making mathematical meaning through dialogue: “Once you think of it, the Z minus three seems pretty weird.” Educational Studies in Mathematics, 46, 229-271.
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