Introducing a symbolic interactionist approach on teaching mathematics: the case of revoicing as an interactional strategy in the teaching of probability
This study examines an interactional view on teaching mathematics, whereby meaning is co-produced with the students through a process of negotiation. Further, teaching is viewed from a symbolic interactionism perspective, allowing the analysis to focus on the teacher’s role in the negotiation of meaning. Using methods inspired by grounded theory, patterns of teachers’ interaction are categorized. The results show how teachers’ actions, interpretations and intentions form interactional strategies that guide the negotiation of meaning in the classroom. The theoretical case of revoicing as a teacher action, together with interpretations of mathematical objects from probability theory, is used to exemplify conclusions from the proposed perspective. Data are generated from a lesson sequence with two teachers working with known and unknown constant sample spaces with their classes. In the lessons presented in this article, the focus is on negotiations of the meaning of chance. The analysis revealed how the teachers indicate their interpretations of mathematical objects and intentions to the students to different degrees and, by doing so, create opportunities for the students to ascribe meaning to these objects. The discussion contrasts the findings with possible interpretations from other perspectives on teaching.