Facilitates Students Communicating With One Another in The Language of Mathematics
Using oral and written communication as a tool helps students reflect
upon their understandings of mathematics, make connections within and outside
of mathematics, and personalize math concepts. Buschman (1995) explains: "As
soon as students use words to describe their thinking, they make their
understanding more precise and more general at the same time. Only by using
words in many situations and many contexts do students come to understand the
full meaning of each word."
To illustrate the many ways that students communicate in mathematics, Mazie
Jenkins and Johnny Lott (1995) quote Jacob, a Wisconsin third grader, as he
describes communication in his class:
"We communicate by sharing at the end of math class. We share our strategy
by drawing, and using math manipulatives to show the way we did it. We learn
the way the sharer did it by asking questions. We talk to other students about
their strategy and how they got the answer ....We talk about the problem with
the teacher and she asks questions about how we did it. So we can think more
about the problem and how we did it. To the teacher the answer isn't as
important as how we solved the problem. We also write in our math journals so
the teacher can learn how we did the problem and so the kids can think about
how they solved the problem."
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