Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities:

15 Fundamental shifts

Halfway through the first year of DMIC implementation, leaders and teachers from Corinna, Russell and Maraeroa Schools in Porirua talk about some of the major shifts that have taken place in them, in their classrooms, and in their schools.

Key Content

Three major themes come through: teachers now expect much more of the children, what they (and the children) think of as 'doing maths' has changed, and there has been a shift in the balance of power in the classroom. These shifts are being widely felt, not just in maths.

Good preparation is as important as ever. It is, says Associate Professor Bobbie Hunter, what enables teachers to respond appropriately to the unexpected.

Evidence in Action

  • When supported by effective pedagogy, heightened expectations lead to increased achievement
  • The belief that some children will never succeed needs to be replaced by the belief that all will 'get there' if certain things happen
  • When internal dialogue is externalised it can be examined
  • Effective maths teaching puts less emphasis on doing mathematical activities and getting the answer and more on explaining and justifying
  • By listening more, teachers become more aware of what/how the children are thinking at the same time as they provide a space for the children to do the explaining
  • Asking the right questions is more productive of learning than rescuing
  • In effective mixed-ability groups members are held jointly accountable for understanding and, if called on, any member can explain and justify the group's thinking
  • Children develop positive maths identities when supported to assume greater agency in their own learning
  • If children are questioning, thinking, and taking responsibility for themselves in maths, chances are they'll be acting similarly in other contexts

Key Evidence Informing Action - References

Specialist providers and New Zealand Ministry of Education and central government education agency staff, can contact the Ministry of Education Library for access to the key evidence. For anyone else requiring this material, you can contact your institution or local public library.

DMIC Videos

  1. Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality teaching for diverse students in  schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES). Wellington: Ministry of Education.
  2. Alton-Lee, A., Hunter, R., Sinnema, C., & Pulegatoa-Diggins, C. (2012, April). BES Exemplar 1 Ngā Kete Raukura – He Tauira: Developing  communities of mathematical inquiry. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
  3. Anthony, G., Hunter, J., Hunter, R. & Duncan, S. (2015). How ambitious is "ambitious mathematics teaching". In J. Huria & J. Roberts (Eds.), Set:  Research Information for Teachers. (pp. 45- 52). Wellington, New Zealand: About Print.
  4. Hunter, J. (2014). Developing  early algebraic reasoning in a mathematical community of inquiry. Doctoral Thesis, Plymouth University, UK.
  5. Hunter, J. (2015). Teacher  actions to facilitate early algebraic reasoning. In M. Marshman, V. Geiger, & A. Bennison (Eds.). Mathematics  education in the margins (Proceedings of the 38th annual conference of the  Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia) (pp. 58-67.) Sunshine Coast: MERGA.
  6. Timperley, H. (2009). Te  Kaupapa Whakaako, Whakapakari Kaiako: Te kete tikanga matauranga 18. International Academy of Education, International Bureau of Education & UNESCO.
  7. Timperley, H. (2008). Teacher  professional learning and development: Educational practices series-18. International Academy of Education, International Bureau of Education & UNESCO.
  8. Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung. I. (2007). Teacher  professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education.