Then they can work out the rules through discussion together, rather than you telling them and then making sure that they understand them! Levels of thinking We can also look at how these questions can stimulate different levels of thinking, outlined in the table below. Doing this for a number of weeks can help them gain confidence to finish what they wanted to say rather than what we thought they might want to say!

This is great for developing their mathematical thinking skills as well as enabling you to talk less. Have you thought of another way this could be done? You may like to consider the level of question that you are using and how to use more higher-order questions. • Avoid making assumptions about what the student is saying. It will help you to support the student’s learning much more effectively.

You may like to work with this as a whole school and investigate one key aspect at a time, for example ‘who does most of the talking? This will give you the opportunity to share good practice across the school as well as support each other in developing high-quality mathematics classrooms. Putting the words inside ready-cut out laminated, speech bubbles can be very effective and create an appealing and interactive display. You can stimulate some talk by joining in with a pair/group of students and ‘playing dumb’.

Generally, in a strong problem-solving environment the teacher needs to be doing around 30% of the talking and the students 70%. For example, make a deliberate mistake and see how the students respond.

It also offers suggestions to help you develop the culture further so that students are encouraged to develop as independent mathematicians with strong problem-solving skills.

This is important as we know that independent problem-solving skills are essential for students for 21st century life and work.

What do you notice about the balance in your classroom? Do I respond by telling the whole class what I think a particular student said without checking with them? Digging deeper Take a look at how these are ideas can be used in the Dotty Six game.

What type of things are you saying when you are talking? Do I slightly adjust what they said to make better sense or fit a ‘better/right answer’? ASPECT FOUR Listening carefully to what the children actually say is sometimes harder than we realise.

Do I ask other students to comment on what was said? Do I explain how it needs to be done and make sure they understand it as fully as possible before working on their own? Changing, Varying, Reversing, Altering What happens if we change …? If this is the answer to a similar question, what was the question? Ideas to try • Be curious about what the student was saying and ask a clarifying question such as, ‘so what you are saying is ...?

Do I ask another follow-up question such as ‘are you sure? Do I give them key pointers/hints/clues to help them? ’ You could alternatively invite the students to tell a partner what they think their peer said.

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