Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 46, Issue 1–3, pp 187–228 | Cite as

The mathematical discourse of 13-year-old partnered problem solving and its relation to the mathematics that emerges

  • Carolyn Kieran


This paper, written within a discursive perspective, explores the co-shaping of public and private discourse, and some of the circumstances under which one occasions the other, in the evolution of mathematical thinking by pairs of 13-year-olds. The discourse of six pairs of students, engaged in interpreting and graphing problem situations involving rational functions, was analyzed by means of recently developed methodological tools. The nature of the mathematics that emerged for each pair was found to be related to several factors that included the characteristics of the interpersonal object-level utterances both before and after the solution path had been generated, the degree of activity of the personal channels of the interlocutors, and the extent to which the thoughts of participants were made explicit in the public discourse. The analysis of the discursive interactions provided evidence that adolescents within novel problem situations can experience some difficulty in making their emergent thinking available to their partners in such a way that the interaction be highly mathematically productive for both of them.

communication discourse graphing of rational functions interaction mathematical discourse problem solving research in mathematics education student talk 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Kieran
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de MathématiquesUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada

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