Language games in the mathematics classroom: teaching a way of life
In this paper, we explore the influence of the teacher on the language games being played in a Grade 3 mathematics classroom. The kinds of listening strategies used by the teacher seemed to have an impact on the kind of language game being played as a small group of students engaged in a problem-solving activity. Understanding classroom conversation from a language-games perspective is used to explore the kinds of sense-making, student engagement, and new understandings evolving through classroom discourse. Language games may also be important for encouraging students to extend and transform their understandings. We describe how learning to 'teach etcetera' as a way of helping students 'see-as' and move beyond narrowly defined predetermined content may entail playing more open-ended language games and learning how to 'listen'.
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