Observable Manifestations of A Teacher’s Actions to Understand and Act on Student Thinking

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 3:30pm
ECA 225


Sinem Bas Ader
Istanbul Aydin University


During the past few decades, the importance of teachers’ attending to and understanding their students’ mathematical thinking, and building their instructional decisions on this understanding are highlighted in many research studies and mathematics education policy documents. Understanding students’ thinking and deciding how to act based on this understanding, especially in the moment of teaching, are not inherently possessed by teachers and they should be considered as types of expertise that need to be developed. Piaget’s (1955) construct of decentering has been used as a theoretical lens to explain what is entailed in teachers’ execution of in-the-moment decision making based on student thinking during teaching. In his work on child development, Piaget (1955) introduced the idea of decentering and described it as an action of adopting a perspective that is not one’s own. Steffe and Thompson (2000) and Thompson (2000) extended Piaget’s idea of decentering and conceptualized meaningful interactions between teacher and student(s). In our study, we used decentering as a theoretical construct and attempted to characterize the degree to which a teacher attempts to make sense of and use student thinking when teaching. It was also our goal to describe the different levels of student-teacher interactions in terms of both teachers’ decentering actions and his or her observable behaviors. In this talk, I will present the results of our study on characterizing teacher behaviors that are associated with five levels of decentering that emerged from analyzing the teacher-student interactions of three teachers when teaching. 

Dr. Sinem Bas Ader is an assistant professor at mathematics education department in Istanbul Aydin University, Turkey. Dr. Bas Ader finished her PhD at Middle East Technical University in 2014. She investigated teachers’ noticing of students’ mathematical thinking in the context of a professional development program based on principles of Models and Modeling Perspective. During her PhD, she worked in a three-year research project funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, titled "Mathematical Modeling in Secondary Mathematics Education: Pre-service and In-service Teacher Education". She started her postdoctoral research on teachers’ ability of decentering when teaching as a visiting researcher at Arizona State University in 2016. Dr. Bas Ader’s main research areas are teacher education, teacher professional development, and mathematical modeling in mathematics education.