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Young Children's Mathematical Communication in Small Group Work
AdvisorWiest, Lynda R.
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Teachers’ instructional strategies to promote student-to-student dialogue have been studied extensively because they have been found to positively influence student learning and achievement (Webb et al., 2019b). Over the past twenty years, researchers have investigated teacher instructional practices in small groups that elicit student thinking and promote student-to-student interaction and collaboration around mathematics (e.g., Franke et al., 2015; Ghousseni, 2015; Hufferd-Ackles et al., 2004; Kazemi & Stipek, 2001; Webb et al., 2019b). This study sought to describe how young children communicate their mathematical thinking during small-group work without teacher prompting. In line with recent shifts to remote learning, this study was conducted using real-time video conferencing. The study findings indicate that the small-group, real-time video conferencing format created a space for students, including English Learners, to participate and communicate their mathematical thinking. Students used verbal and nonverbal communication strategies to explain their mathematical thinking. Students’ use of nonverbal communication strategies, including gestures, pictorial representations, concrete objects, and symbolic notation, were used to convey their mathematical ideas. Most often, students employed a combination of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to express how they solved a word problem or arrived at a solution.