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

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

  • Scaffolding in problem solving
  • Collaborative learning
  • Open-access higher education

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Acknowledgement

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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Correspondence to Sergio Celis .

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Annex 14.1: Examples of Problems

Annex 14.1: Examples of Problems

Example 14.1: Cubes

A pine wood cube of 4 cm of edge is painted in blue and then is cut into small cubes of 1 cm of edge.

  • How many small cubes have four painted faces?

  • How many small cubes have three painted faces?

  • How many small cubes have two painted faces?

  • How many small cubes have only one painted face?

  • How many small cubes do not have any painted faces?

Example 14.2: Ice Creams

An ice cream shop offers 20 different flavors. A client can ask for an ice cream with one or two scoops. If she asks for two scoops, they could be of the same flavor or not. How many different ice creams does the shop offer?

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Celis, S., Quiroz, C., Toro-Vidal, V. (2019). Do Not Interrupt Students’ Work: How Teacher Interactions Influence Team’s Problem-Solving Capabilities. In: Felmer, P., Liljedahl, P., Koichu, B. (eds) Problem Solving in Mathematics Instruction and Teacher Professional Development. Research in Mathematics Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29215-7_14

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29215-7_14

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