Dialogical relations in a mathematics classroom
Khan, Steven Kamaluddin, 1977-
MetadataShow full item record
This case study investigated the polyphonic discourse in a beginning secondary school mathematics classroom in Trinidad. It relates how classroom and research interview ‘talk’ contributed to students’, their teacher’s and the researcher’s developing conceptions of mathematics, themselves and each other. The study is approached from dialogical and socio-constructivist orientations. Students and their teacher professed a diverse set of prior conceptions of mathematics which included viewing mathematics as rule based with a problem solving orientation and emphasizing attention to the teacher. Several cases are reported that describe the authoritative elements which included a well defined structure to lessons mirroring the textbook, ‘cloze’ questions, and a reliance on rules and absent historical referents as justifications for mathematical activities and substitution for mathematical reasoning. Student and teacher questions and their desire to understand, however, served to interrupt the monological discourse. What was internally persuasive for students was the relational competency of their teacher as well as the communicative acts of their peers. Students’ responses to pedagogy were internally persuasive for the teacher and precipitated ideological assessment. Both discourse types contributed to the formation of individual as well as social identities. Student and teacher utterances were internally persuasive for the researcher. I recommend that research needs to attend more meaningfully to what is internally persuasive for students and teachers in mathematics teaching and learning. In addition I theorize on the need for a dialogical relationship between dialogue and pedagogy that is attentive to the ambiguities in communication.