Do Not Interrupt Students’ Work: How Teacher Interactions Influence Team’s Problem-Solving Capabilities

  • Sergio CelisEmail author
  • Carlos Quiroz
  • Valentina Toro-Vidal
Part of the Research in Mathematics Education book series (RME)


We study how teacher interactions with student groups relate to team’s problem-solving capabilities in the teaching of mathematics in open-access institutions of higher education in Chile. We define a teacher interaction as the moment in which a teacher visits a group of student working on a problem-solving activity. The data is based on 25 videos of classroom teaching of 11 teachers. Through the analysis of about 700 interactions observed in videos, we described and measured items such as the number of students who talk during the interaction or whether the teacher interacts mostly with questions. We also created a variable we called depth of the solution, which indicates whether a team solved the problem and how far they went in further problem extensions. This measure was used as the dependent variable, regressed on multiple teachers’ interaction variables, and controlled by several teachers and team characteristics. We used the idea of scaffolding as a framework to analyze and discuss the data. We found evidence that the fewer teachers interrupt student groups, the further students go into the mathematics content of the problem-solving task.


Scaffolding in problem solving Collaborative learning Open-access higher education 



This work was supported by Fondecyt Iniciación N°11160656. We also thank Dr. Lisa Darragh for providing comments and suggestions to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Celis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carlos Quiroz
    • 2
  • Valentina Toro-Vidal
    • 1
  1. 1.Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, FCFM, Universidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Avanzada en Educación, Universidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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