Pijls, Monique

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Name, affiliation and email address

Monique Pijls, University of Amsterdam, Graduate School of Teaching and Learning, Spinozastraat 55, 1018 HJ Amsterdam. Phone: + 31 (0) 20 525 15 07, Cell phone: + 31 (0) 6 15 24 23 04.


Bio sketch

Field of interest

mathematics education, collaborative learning, students doing research, teachers' professional development

Chosen topic group (but also interested in)

Chosen topic group: Professional development

Planned contribution to ISDDE 2008

I want to show the results of my collaboration with both a beginning and an experienced math teacher in exploring possibilities for students to perform key activities as to show, explain, justify and reconstruct their work (Dekker and Elshout-Mohr, 1998). Group tests, lessons with mind-mapping and new forms of teacher help were developed. Video and audio recordings were made for making our practices accessible for other teachers and teacher educators.

Occasion, objective and relevance of the proposed research

Referring to our research on the role of the teacher in getting going mathematical discussions between students, we arrived to contradictory findings. For pupils in pre-university education (5VWO-B), the teacher who exclusively supported the pupils in the process of discussion (process help) appeared to be more effective in evoking mathematical discussions and level raising, than the teacher who exclusively paid attention to the mathematical content of the discussions (Dekker & Elshout-Mohr, 2004). For students in higher secondary education (4HAVO-A) there was no difference between the two types of supervision: in both groups, there were less mathematical discussions (Pijls, Dekker & Van Hout-Wolters, in press). The teachers in our research carried out roles which we developed. Especially the process role, and not-providing mathematical help, was experienced as unnatural. In this continuation of the research we explicitly want to engage the teacher as an expert in developing a learning environment in which students are having mathematical discussions with one another. We hope to gain insight in the various manners to evoke mathematical discussions between students. For the moment we assume that mathematical discussions between students lead to a better understanding and mathematical level raising. In further continuation of the research we want to continue this assumption.

General research question

How can we evoke mathematical discussions between students?

With mathematical discussions we mean discussions in which students show each other their mathematical (thinking) work, explain it to each other, justify it and reconstruct their (thinking) work, described as key activities in the process model of Dekker & Elshout-Mohr (1998).

Method and design

The research consists of a number of case-studies with various teachers, classes and learning contents. First we will work with two in-service teachers (lio’s) with a different mathematical pre-schooling, and their mathematics educator at the institute, who is a math teacher too. In the case-studies we will describe how teachers get going mathematical discussions between pupils. The main point is the behaviour of the teacher, beside it we will pay attention to other important factors, as the learning materials and the composition of the groups. In the observation of the teacher behaviour we pay attention to the introduction of the lesson, the way of offering help to the students and the insertion of classical moments. In an interview after the lesson, the teacher is asked to reflect on the amount in which key activities occurred between pupils during the lesson. Plans are made for the next lesson. The researcher will encourage the teacher as much as possible to come up with own ideas for fostering key activities between pupils. This cycle will be passes through several times. In between, the researchers will exchange their experiences in both experiments.

The following data will be collected:

1. video recordings of the lessons 2. audio recordings of the lessons 3. audio recordings of the inverviews with the teacher before and after the lesson 4. minutes of the researchers’meetings

Ad 1 it is important to record both the keyactivities between students and the input of the teacher. One could think of a camera position which makes one group of students well visible and to hear the voice of the teacher. At the ILO, math teacher students already gained some experience in recording their lessons.

Ad 2 audiorecordings can be used to make additional recordings of a group of the teacher.


Furthermore, I want to show a tool for assessment of professional development, 'DiViDU'. It is an online environment in which students and teachers can collect their own video clips and additional documents, as well as reflections on their own and feedback on each others video narratives. The learning environment DiViDU was designed and re-designed in several earlier projects, conducted by Judith Janssen (see Janssen 2004; Bimmel & Janssen, 2004; Kulk, 2005). It comprises three sections, modules, which correspond to the three educational functions of digital video of analysis of, reflection on and assessment of professional practice. In the ‘educator modus’, educators can create and exchange their own specific tasks for each of this three modules. When a task is published in the DiViDU environment, it is accessible for students and educator who are ‘linked’ to this task by the educator.

Expectations for this conference


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