Mapping Mathematics in Classroom Discourse

November 17, 2011

Beth A. Herbel-Eisenmann and Samuel Otten.  Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Volume 42, Issue 5, Page 451 (November 2011).

This article offers a particular analytic method from systemic functional linguistics, thematic analysis, which reveals the mathematical meaning potentials construed in discourse. Analyses of two middle school classroom excerpts focusing on area—one that derives triangle area formulas from the rectangle area formula and another that connects parallelogram and rectangular area—are used to delineate the method. Descriptions of similarities and differences in the classroom discourse highlight how, in each classroom, mathematical terms such as base and height were used in semantically related, but distinct, ways.