Investigating Teacher-Pupil Oral Communication in Mathematics at Key Stage Two

Bennett, Mary Kathleen (2002). Investigating Teacher-Pupil Oral Communication in Mathematics at Key Stage Two. EdD thesis The Open University.



The dissertation sets out to investigate how teacher-pupil communication can be used to establish and build on key stage two pupils’ perceived understanding in order to enhance learning in Mathematics. Conclusions are drawn after examining lengthy discourse between one adult and nine children. After discussing facets of constructivism, the concentration is on the relationship between the use of situated cognition and an understanding of pattern in mathematics. The conclusion drawn is that a developing grasp of pattern is helpful for children whose thinking may still be of a concrete nature, in order for them then to calculate successfully in a hypothetical situation. Communication, primarily of an oral nature, is examined in order to determine how an adult in the teaching situation might enhance the understanding of that pattern, two approaches being highlighted as of particular value, the use of speculation and silence. The use of initiation, response and feedback sequences and open questioning can also be seen to be helpful in certain circumstances. The conclusion is drawn that whatever the oral technique in use, it is the teacher’s ability to listen to the child which is paramount if they are to make appropriate interactions in relation to pupil understanding.

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