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The Importance, Nature, and Impact of Teacher Questions
Unformatted Document Text:  While providing interesting information on similarities within the classes of teachers who use the same curriculum, this coding exercise did not capture important differences that we knew to exist between different teachers using the same curriculum. The differences were particularly evident among teachers using the reform curricula. Our detailed observations and qualitative analyses showed that the teachers generated very different classroom environments. In order to capture these differences we chose to move to a finer grain size and code the nature of teachers’ questions, as our observations suggested that teacher questions were very important. We developed nine categories of teacher questions that were derived from an analysis of practice. We did not invent the categories a priori, rather we studied different examples of the teaching in our sample and attempted to describe and name the different types of questions we recorded. In doing this, we were informed by other analyses of questions, particularly those of Hiebert and Wearne (1993) and Driscoll (1999). Table 2 shows the categories of teacher questions we developed. Table 2: Teacher Questions. Question type Description Examples 1. Gathering information, leading students through a method Requires immediate answer Rehearses known facts/procedures Enables students to state facts/procedures What is the value of x in this equation? How would you plot that point? 2. Inserting terminology Once ideas are under discussion, enables correct mathematical language to be used to talk about them What is this called? How would we write this correctly? 3. Exploring mathematical meanings and/or relationships Points to underlying mathematical relationships and meanings. Makes links between mathematical ideas and representations Where is this x on the diagram? What does probability mean? 4. Probing, getting students to explain their thinking Asks student to articulate, elaborate or clarify ideas How did you get 10? Can you explain your idea? 5. Generating Discussion Solicits contributions from other members of class. Is there another opinion about this? What did you say, Justin? 6. Linking and applying Points to relationships among mathematical ideas and mathematics and other areas of study/life In what other situations could you apply this? Where else have we used this? 7. Extending thinking Extends the situation under discussion to other situations where similar ideas may be used Would this work with other numbers? 8. Orienting and focusing Helps students to focus on key elements or aspects of the situation in order to enable problem-solving What is the problem asking you? What is important about this? 9. Establishing context Talks about issues outside of math in order to enable links to be made with mathematics What is the lottery? How old do you have to be to play the lottery?

Authors: Jo, Boaler., Brodie, Karin., White, Tobin., Shahan, Emily., DiBrienza, Jennifer. and Fiori, Nick.
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While providing interesting information on similarities within the classes of teachers
who use the same curriculum, this coding exercise did not capture important differences
that we knew to exist between different teachers using the same curriculum. The
differences were particularly evident among teachers using the reform curricula. Our
detailed observations and qualitative analyses showed that the teachers generated very
different classroom environments. In order to capture these differences we chose to move
to a finer grain size and code the nature of teachers’ questions, as our observations
suggested that teacher questions were very important. We developed nine categories of
teacher questions that were derived from an analysis of practice. We did not invent the
categories a priori, rather we studied different examples of the teaching in our sample
and attempted to describe and name the different types of questions we recorded. In
doing this, we were informed by other analyses of questions, particularly those of Hiebert
and Wearne (1993) and Driscoll (1999). Table 2 shows the categories of teacher
questions we developed.

Table 2: Teacher Questions.
Question type
Description
Examples
1. Gathering
information, leading
students through a
method
Requires immediate answer
Rehearses known facts/procedures
Enables students to state
facts/procedures
What is the value of x in this
equation?
How would you plot that
point?
2. Inserting terminology
Once ideas are under discussion,
enables correct mathematical
language to be used to talk about
them
What is this called?
How would we write this
correctly?
3. Exploring
mathematical meanings
and/or relationships
Points to underlying mathematical
relationships and meanings. Makes
links between mathematical ideas and
representations
Where is this x on the
diagram?
What does probability mean?
4. Probing, getting
students
to explain their
thinking
Asks student to articulate, elaborate
or clarify ideas
How did you get 10?
Can you explain your idea?
5. Generating Discussion Solicits contributions from other
members of class.
Is there another opinion about
this?
What did you say, Justin?
6. Linking and applying
Points to relationships among
mathematical ideas and mathematics
and other areas of study/life
In what other situations could
you apply this?
Where else have we used
this?
7. Extending thinking
Extends the situation under discussion
to other situations where similar ideas
may be used
Would this work with other
numbers?
8. Orienting and
focusing
Helps students to focus on key
elements or aspects of the situation in
order to enable problem-solving
What is the problem asking
you?
What is important about this?
9. Establishing context
Talks about issues outside of math in
order to enable links to be made with
mathematics
What is the lottery?
How old do you have to be to
play the lottery?


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