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Lets Talk About Maths: The Research Is In

Lets Talk About Maths: The Research Is In

The Impact of Class Discussions or Maths Talk on student achievement is shown in John Hattie’s research. Hattie (2017) states that class discussion and number talks during a mathematics lesson has an effect size of 0.82. That equals to two years of learning gains for one year of schooling. Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker (2015) state that number talks are so important as they give students and adults a whole different perceptive on mathematics- a perceptive that turns out to be critical for learning.

In the timeframe of 2-3 minutes teachers can provide students with some great opportunities to change, challenge and develop students thinking. The rich learning that takes place during this time is too great to leave until the end of a lesson. Number talks and Class Discussions can take place 3-4 times during one mathematics lessons.

Number Talks and Class Discussions change the students role in the classroom from student to teacher and critical thinker and questioner. Students explain their thinking and critically analyse others thinking, testing if it is efficient and effective.

To Promote Maths Talk:

  • Do the Maths as teachers first and discuss the strategies used.
  • Take photos or display students work and get them to share the mathematics strategy they used.
  • Students become the teachers and explain how they solved the problem.
  • Students share the strategies that they used with their peers.
  • Create a safe, risk taker learning environment.
  • Encourage students to use a range of representations and strategies to justify their thinking and build understanding.
  • Promote Maths Talks and Class Discussions as learning time, where ideas and tips for success can be gained.
  • Value every thought and strategy shared! 


Resources and further reading:
Hattie. J, Fisher. D and Frey. N (2017). Visible Learning for Mathematics, What Works Best to Optimise Student Learning, SAGE Publications, UK. 

Humphreys. P & Parker. R, (2015). Making Number Talks Matter, Developing Mathematical Practices and Deepening Understanding, Grade 4-10, Stenhouse Publishers, USA. 

Smith. M & Stein. M, (2011) 5 Practices for Orchestrating ProductiveMathematics Discussion, The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. INC. SAGE Publications, USA. 

Questions: Promoting Discussion and Clarity

Questions: Promoting Discussion and Clarity