Essay on the Role of Teachers’ Questioning in Inquiry-Based Mathematics Teaching

  • Luís Menezes Instituto Politécnico de Viseu
  • António Guerreiro Universidade do Algarve
  • Maria Helena Martinho Universidade do Minho
  • Rosa Antónia Tomás-Ferreira Universidade do Porto
Keywords: Mathematics communication, Questioning, Teacher, Inquiry-based mathematics teaching

Abstract

This paper is an essay on the role of the mathematics teacher’s questioning in inquiry-based teaching. Questions are important communication tools that are used by the teacher for various purposes and underpin different visions of what it means to teach mathematics. Inquiry-based mathematics teaching has achieved relevance as a powerful alternative to direct teaching, which is inefficient in complying with current demands of mathematics learning. The paper constitutes a reflection on teachers´ questioning within an inquiry-based approach to teaching mathematics, based on available research and illustrated by classroom episodes of three basic education teachers. Our reflection has led us to advocate the central role of the teacher’s questions in inquiry-based mathematics teaching, having two main goals: (i) verification of knowledge, a questioning goal that is common to the direct teaching approach; and (ii) development of knowledge, a questioning goal that is specific to inquiry-based teaching. These two goals are attained using three types of questions which may be present in all phases of an inquiry-based lesson, albeit with different weights according to the lesson phases and the teacher’s own goals.

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Author Biographies

Luís Menezes, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu
Luís Menezes is an adjunct professor in the Viseu Higher School of Education (ESEV) at the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Portugal. His main research interests are mathematics teaching practices and teacher education. His interests lie on the role of communication in the mathematics classroom, the processes of construction and the transfer of knowledge. He was a member of the team that developed the new mathematics curriculum for basic education (2007). Between 2005 and 2011, at ESEV, he coordinated the In-Service Teacher Education Programme in Mathematics. He is (co)author of several articles in national and international journals and has produced curriculum support materials for mathematics teacher education.
António Guerreiro, Universidade do Algarve

António Guerreiro is an adjunct professor and director of the School of Education and Communication, University of the Algarve in Portugal, where he also teaches. His main research interests are mathematics teacher practices and teacher education, with a special emphasis on mathematical communication in primary school. He was a member of the coordinating team of the teacher training programme in mathematics for basic education (2005-2010). He is the author of articles and papers in refereed national and international conferences.

Maria Helena Martinho, Universidade do Minho

Maria Helena Martinho is an assistant professor at the Institute of Education of University of Minho in Portugal. Her main research interests are teachers’ practices, mathematics communication, reasoning and literacy. She was a member of the curriculum development team for East Timor, where she contributed to the mathematics curriculum for basic education (2008-2010). She served on the coordination committee for the implementation of the new mathematics curriculum for basic education (2009-2012). Currently, she coordinates a research project on literacy and is the deputy director of the mathematics education research journal, Quadrante. She is (co)author of several articles in national and international journals.

Rosa Antónia Tomás-Ferreira, Universidade do Porto
Rosa Antónia Tomás Ferreira is an assistant professor of the Faculty of Sciences at Porto University in Porto, Portugal. Currently, her main research interests are mathematics teacher education, teacher communication practices and didactical knowledge, and inclusive mathematical problem solving competitions, especially the role of affective factors and feedback. She coordinated a national project that promoted teaching practices to address students with learning difficulties (2007-2012). She also was a member of coordination committee for the implementation of the new mathematics curriculum for basic education (2009-2012). She has presented several research studies at national and international conferences and is a member of the board of directors of the Portuguese Society for Research in Mathematics Education.
Published
2013-12-19