Changing the way to Teach Maths: Preservice Primary Teachers’ Reflections on using Exploratory Talk in Teaching Mathematics

Carol Murphy


This paper reports on the reflections of twenty-one primary preservice teachers following a microteaching experience that focused on the use of talk and collaborative group work, as part of a primary mathematics specialist education programme. Based on the didactic strategies of exploratory talk, the experience intended to develop knowledge for teaching mathematics in a contingent way. Preservice teachers’ reflections from an online survey and from written recounts were analysed in relation to noticing students’ learning and behaviour. Whilst the preservice teachers indicated that the microteaching experience impacted on their teaching, some reflections revealed tensions in noticing student learning and in balancing a focus on both collaborative talk and mathematics content. These tensions suggest that resistance to change in the practice of novice teachers may not be due just to a conceptualisation of teaching mathematics but also to awareness of student mathematical thinking as knowing-to.


preservice teachers . exploratory talk . didactic strategies . mathematics learning . noticing

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