TEACHING THE SOLVING OF LINEAR EQUATIONS – WHAT IS AT STAKE?

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2012-02-13

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To test a model which characterizes what is at stake in the situation of solving linear equations (Chazan & Lueke, 2009), we analyse talk of teachers who, stimulated by watching an animation of classroom interaction (Chazan & Herbst, in press) share with their colleagues how they teach their students how to solve linear equations. The teacher talk illustrates two key aspects of our model of the situation of solving linear equations. First, the teachers in the sample conceive of it as their responsibility to teach their students a method for solving this class of problems; applying the steps of the method successfully means knowing how to solve linear equations. Second, teaching the method of solving linear equations does not involve the presentation of mathematical arguments, but at the same time is not exactly justification-free; the teachers present students with similes that motivate the steps in the method.

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