Perceiving mathematics teaching through the eyes of children

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Barnson, M. Patricia
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In this study I adopted a hermeneutic research stance to inquire into the nature of learning that occurs when children communicate their mathematical understandings. I paired learners from grades 3 and 6 who had been identified as being in need of remedial help in mathematics with learners two years their junior, in hopes that communicating about mathematical topics might provide them learning benefits. I provided them with activities to investigate, in hopes that the activities would encourage their communication about mathematics. I collected audio- and video-tape recordings, as well as reflections written by the learners and myself, which I used in my reflection and analysis. I tell two versions of the story of what occurred. The first telling describes the course of events as they unfolded chronologically. In the second telling, I draw together events that point towards four emergent themes, evident as the study progressed. The themes detailed are titled: (1) What does it mean to play the role of mathematics teacher? (2) Attitudes towards mistakes; (3) What is mathematics? (4) Story of the researcher--a description of my thesis journey. In the concluding chapter, I discuss the potential value of this research within two realms. First, I consider the applicability of the research findings as well as the potential use of this research stance for other practitioners in their own context. Finally, I indicate the relevance this research has in the context within my own teaching practice today.