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Developing a safe environment that encourages maths talk.

Wendy Denton Mathematics Facilitator 2014

The rationale for maths discourse needs to be made explicit

When we talk about our maths it helps us to:

Organise our mathematical thinking

Think more clearly so we can share our ideas

Make sense of what others are saying

Listen to others thinking and strategies that we might find helpful next time

Learn and practise using the language of maths so we can be easily


Mathematicians use precise language so they can communicate their maths

reasoning and thinking to others.

The rationale for pair share needs to be made explicit

When we talk in pair about our maths we can:

Practise our response on our partner, before sharing it with the class

Share our idea and use our partners idea to help us solve the problem

Help each other to understand, by listening, question and talking

Together as a pair, you need to know what you are saying and doing, and be
able to explain it to others.

Expectations need to be made explicit

You have the right to

Ask questions

Share your ideas and your thinking

To expect others to listen

Be treated respectfully

Have people discuss your ideas (not you)

As a group member, you must

Listen for understanding when others speak

Share your thinking and your ideas

Speak loudly enough so others can hear you

Speak respectfully to others in the group when challenging their maths

Ask questions to help you understand

Developing mathematical argumentation

Requires specific teacher attention and modelling of how to argue politely.

Students disagree with the thinking not the Speaker. Give students prompt
cards if necessary.

Requires explicit permission and prompting to use argumentation as a

powerful tool to learn mathematics.

Ensure students understand the difference between co-operation (where they

may think everyone have to agree) and collaboration (where students work
together to make sense of a problem through sharing of ideas, questioning
each others thinking and checking that every group member understands.