Mathematics teachers’ attention to potential classroom situations of argumentation

Michal Ayalon, Rina Hershkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates secondary school mathematics teachers’ attention to potential teaching situations that encourage argumentation. A group of 17 seventh grade teachers were asked to choose three tasks from a textbook they all use in teaching, which, in their view, have the potential to encourage argumentation, and then to justify their choices. Analysis of the teachers’ responses revealed categories that fall into three dimensions of attention: (1) Attention to the mathematics in which the argumentation is embedded, focusing on three aspects: the mathematics inherent in the task; the mathematics related to the teaching sequence of which the task is a part; and the meta-level principles of mathematics; (2) Attention to socio-cultural aspects related to argumentation; and (3) Attention to students’ ways of thinking which might be revealed by the task. Analysis of each response revealed four types of combinations of dimensions of attention: a. Responses attending to all three dimensions; b. Responses attending solely to the mathematics inherent in the task; c. Responses attending only to the socio-cultural dimension; and d. Responses refers to none of these dimensions. Analysis also found that responses of the same teacher were of the same type of combination. The findings were interpreted in light of theory and practice and suggestions for additional research emerged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mathematical Behavior
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Argumentation
  • Facilitation of argumentation
  • Mathematics teachers’ attention to argumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)


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