24 SES 04, Investigating Social Interactions and Classroom Learning from Multiple Perspectives
This symposium aims to examine social interactions and classroom learning in the context of a project conducted in a laboratory classroom where a class of Year 7 students worked individually, in pairs and in small groups to solve a set of open-ended problems.
In the 1990s, Cobb and Yackel (1996) merged two main traditions in mathematics education research: one describing learning in terms of individual cognitive processes, and another one viewing learning from the perspective of the cultural observer. Cobb and Yackel suggested that we must understand students and teachers’ interactions within the classroom practices paying attention to their beliefs about their own role, others’ role, the general nature of mathematical activities in school, mathematical beliefs and values, and mathematical conceptions and activities.
Whereas some researchers followed the line of research of Cobb and Yackel (Hershkowitz, & Schwarz, 1999; Sánchez & García, 2014; Tatsis & Koleza, 2008), other educational researchers were finding evidence that communication and dialogue are important tools both for sharing thinking and for internalizing thinking through higher inter-psychologically processes (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991, 1998; Wells, 1999; Wells & Mejía Arauz, 2006).
This symposium focuses on the analysis of social interactions as situated in a classroom setting, within the Social Unit of Learning project. The project is an international collaborative project aiming to understand learning as a social phenomenon and, particularly, how it occurs in the mathematics classroom. Data were collected using a laboratory classroom with multiple cameras and audio inputs. The research design created situations requiring individual, dyadic, and small group (4-6 students) problem solving in mathematics and documented the social interactions and associated learning. A multitheoretic research design utilised expertise and theoretical perspectives specific to the participating international researchers to undertake parallel analyses of a shared dataset.
Drawing on previous work in the field of teaching and learning, interaction is not seen as an isolated phenomenon happening between individuals when solving a task; interaction is seen as embedded in a complex social environment (the classroom) where we can identify classroom practices, actors, interactions, dialogue, epistemological configurations, and, embedded within all these elements, there are also classroom social norms, sociomathematical norms, types of talk, emotional dispositions towards learning, different kinds of explanations, justifications and argumentation, etc.
In the first contribution of this symposium Chan, Wan and Clarke explore the connections between the foci of the students’ negotiation and the consequent outcomes of their pair work in terms of their written solutions. The paper suggests the potential value of each of the negotiative foci as avenues to improve learning outcomes. In the second contribution Tuohilampi analyses student collaborative skills taking into account the affective dimension of interaction. Tuohilampi claims that students engage in interactive episodes in which they are able to support each other to develop the competence of “discovering perspectives and abilities of team members.” In the third contribution Moate explores students’ repertoires when making sense and choosing to respond to the task, highlighting the importance of noticing students’ negotiating pathways from current levels of development to expected levels of achievement. The last paper included in this symposium intends to clarify the patterns that we can notice within the students’ dialogue when they interact to solve open-ended tasks in small groups. Analysing dialogues and their conditions, Díez-Palomar argues that it is possible to understand how individuals use dialogues to construct their mathematical understanding over epistemological configurations (Font, Godino & Gallardo, 2013).
It is anticipated that the combination of perspectives presented from this international collaborative project will stimulate lively discussion of their interrelationship and collectively inform research attempts to understand (and optimise) student social interaction and classroom learning.
Cobb, P., & Yackel, E. (1996). Constructivist, emergent, and sociocultural perspectives in the context of developmental research. Educational Psychologist, 31(3/4), 175-190. Font, V., Godino, J. D. y Gallardo, J. (2013). The emergence of objects from mathematical practices. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 82, 97-124. Hershkowitz, R., & Schwarz, B. (1999). The emergent perspective in rich learning environments: Some roles of tools and activities in the construction of sociomathematical norms. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 39(1-3), 149-166. Sánchez, V., & García, M. (2014). Sociomathematical and mathematical norms related to definition in pre-service primary teachers' discourse. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 85(2), 305-320. Tatsis, K., & Koleza, E. (2008). Social and socio‐mathematical norms in collaborative problem‐solving. European Journal of Teacher Education, 31(1), 89-100. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic Inquiry: Towards a Sociocultural Practice and Theory of Education. New York: Cambridge University Press. Wells, G., & Mejía Arauz, R. (2006). Dialogue in the classroom. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(3), 379-428. Wertsch, J. (1991). Voices of the Mind: A Sociocultural Approach to Mediated Action. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard Educational Press. Wertsch, J. (1998). Mind as Action. New York: Oxford Press.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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