Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 379–396 | Cite as

Teachers’ ability to identify and explain students’ actions in near and far figural pattern generalization tasks

  • Rabih Raif El Mouhayar
  • Murad Eid JurdakEmail author


The purpose of this paper is to explore middle school in-service mathematics teachers’ ability (1) to identify and explain students’ actions in pattern generalization and (2) to account for the variation in teachers’ explanations of students’ actions in terms of task and teachers’ factors. Two questionnaires were developed: (1) a questionnaire to measure teachers’ ability to identify students’ actions while finding the nth term in the pattern generalization and (2) a questionnaire to measure teachers’ ability to explain students’ actions in different tasks. The two questionnaires were given to a sample of 83 middle school in-service mathematics teachers from 22 schools in Lebanon. Analysis of data shows that teachers seemed to have the ability to identify students’ actions while finding the nth term in the pattern generalization and that teachers’ explanations of students’ actions in different tasks are lacking in terms of identifying variable-related counting elements. The results of stepwise multiple regression show that teachers’ ability to explain students’ actions to find the general term depends on their ability to explain students’ step-by-step counting or drawing.


Pattern generalization Near generalization tasks Far generalization tasks Teacher knowledge Abductive–inductive actions Symbolic actions 



This research was supported by a grant from the University Research Board at the American University of Beirut.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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