UBC Graduate Research

Taking risks in primary mathematics classrooms Sylvia, McLellan


Inquiry-based mathematics and science lessons are generally expected to produce high level thinking in students. The “curriculum” and “knowledge” are thought to emerge, as co-constructed by students and their teacher. In such settings, a disposition towards risk taking is highly valued. My study attempts to unravel the ways in which elements of risk taking (agency, intent and commitment) are produced, performed and made relevant in social interaction. The setting is a play based mathematics study group of ten 6 - 7 year olds. The data analysis method is discursive psychology (a form of discourse analysis). The design will incorporate questions such as “Is risk taking essential to learning?” and “How is the disposition constructed, made available or countered ‘indirectly’ through social interaction?” This attempt towards defining and documenting risk taking will strengthen future efforts to develop learning experiences that will permit all children to participate more fully in science and mathematics. [The Explorations & Education Conference is the collaborative effort of graduate student representatives from the Graduate Student Council for the Faculty of Education, the Department of Educational Studies and the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy. The goal is to "to create a safe space for the exchange of academic ideas and to create opportunities particularly for graduate students (at all levels of study) to present their ideas and research".]

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