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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Teacher and Student Discourse and Vocabulary in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms during Whole Class Discussions
by Martin, Kristi Rose, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2018, 214; 10822870
Abstract (Summary)

Vocabulary and communication are essential components of mathematics that should be addressed in the classroom. Knowledge of mathematical vocabulary has been argued as a necessary building block for students to engage in purposeful discourse. However, previous studies primarily focus on vocabulary instruction strategies specifically for English Language Learners and early childhood students. Discourse in mathematics education continues to be a major theme in national standards publications. Both empirical and theoretical studies have shown that discourse allows students to build conceptual knowledge by participating in purposeful conversations. Further, previous research has found that learners are given the opportunity to increase their own ability when using social interactions as a gateway to develop higher mental functions that aid in transitioning from thought to word and visa versa. Since mathematics curricula are often influenced and developed using national standards documents as foundational resources, it is important to explore the types of vocabulary and the levels of discourse that are currently being used in the classroom.

This study considers the cases of four mathematics teachers to focus on what types of vocabulary are used and what levels of discourse are evident in high school mathematics classrooms. Data sources included video-recorded observations and classroom artifacts including teacher-created materials and the district-provided curriculum. Qualitative analysis techniques were used in this study. The results of this study showed that the cognitive demand of tasks influenced the level of teacher discourse along with levels of student discourse. Students continued to use the lowest levels of discourse in response to low levels of teacher discourse, cognitive demand of tasks, and discourse interactions. However, students used higher levels of discourse when teachers used high cognitive demand tasks and high levels of teacher discourse. The results of this study also showed that students’ use of vocabulary mirrored their teacher’s use of vocabulary. Finally, teachers who used the lowest levels of discourse used technical vocabulary more frequently than their students did and had the highest overall frequency of vocabulary words within their lessons.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moore-Russo, Deborah
Commitee: Ageyev, Vladimir, Son, Ji-Won
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Learning and Instruction
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Communication, Secondary education
Keywords: Dialogic, Discourse, Monologic, Secondary mathematics, Vocabulary
Publication Number: 10822870
ISBN: 978-0-438-04878-2
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