Teach Middle East Magazine Jan-Feb 2018 Issue 3 Volume 5 - Page 33

Sharing Good Practice REASONING TALKS PART 2: NUMBER TALKS IN THE SECONDARY MATHEMATICS CLASSROOM BY CORY A. BENNETT about a problem/context. Do students understand what matters and how it matters? Or, students might be asked to make meaning of a symbolic representation. For example, when examining a proportion, what do the two ratios mean independently and in relation to each other? Additionally, students might be asked to make connections between relationships. An example of this might include analysing what is similar or different between a linear and non-linear function that has the same coefficients and y-intercepts. Other Reasoning Talks might focus on generating a possible solution pathway, focused questions, or considering a counter argument. Tips for Implementation N umber Talks are short, yet powerful learning moments for students and the American United School of Kuwait has been using this instructional strategy to build students’ conceptual understanding, technical language, and reasoning about key mathematical relationships. While Number Talks have tremendous potential, implementing Number Talks in secondary grades, requires making adaptations as the content becomes more advanced and does not lend itself to simple calculations or computations. This second installment of a two-part article (See Number Talks Focus on Reasoning in the November-December issue of Teach Middle East Magazine) will briefly explore the nature and benefits of Reasoning Talks, share ideas on how to make adaptations, and some tips for using Reasoning Talks when you first begin. Nature and Benefits of Reasoning Talks Most of the benefits of Number Talks— which include such things as making sense of mathematical contexts or situations, recognising key elements in relationships, learning to reason about why these key elements matter, and practicing how to listen to their fellow students’ ideas as well as articulate understandings in a clear and logical manner—still happen by attending to reasoning. Thus, Reasoning Talks, might be a better way to describe the nature of Number Talks in secondary grades. The purpose of Reasoning Talks is to leverage students’ ideas and ways of thinking; it is not about producing correct answers. Making Adaptations Reasoning Talks look slightly different in secondary grades but they rely on many of the same principles. For example, a teacher might want students to recognise what is important Just as with Number Talks, Reasoning Talks, aim to help students learn to communicate ideas and attend to critical aspects of the mathematics they are learning. This means one of the more critical roles of the teacher, is keeping track of ideas in a central place (like on the white board), helping students attend to key aspects of their thinking (they are not always aware of the importance of their ideas), helping them make connections between their ideas and the ideas of others, and probing thinking for clarity and prec