In order for effective communication to take place in the middle school classroom, students must feel safe to express ideas honestly and openly, without fear of ridicule. It is the teacher's responsibility to create a sense of community in the mathematics classroom. You should establish a learning community in which all students are willing to take risks and to share new ideas, with the expectation that classmates will learn from valuing, analyzing, and responding to those ideas.
Questions to Consider
- What are the characteristics of a classroom that is a true learning community for all students?
- What strategies can you use to help students see that incorrect or incomplete solutions still lead toward a solution and are not failures?
- How can you help students recognize connections between their ideas and the ideas of others during a discussion?
- How can you help students who are reluctant to participate in group work or give class presentations become better able to communicate about mathematics in these ways?