Tye Campbell , Sheunghyun Yeo , Mindy Green , Erin Rich
DOI: JANT Vol.26(No.1) 1-17, 2023
Over the last three decades, there has been an increasingly strong emphasis on group-centered approaches to mathematics teaching. One primary responsibility for teachers who use group-centered instruction is to “check in”, or intervene, with groups to monitor group learning and provide mathematical support when necessary. While prior research has contributed valuable insight for successful teacher interventions in mathematics group work, there is a need for more fine-grained analyses of interactions between teachers and students. In this study, we co-conducted research with an exemplary middle grade teacher (Ms. Green) to learn about fine-grained details of her intervention practices, hoping to generate knowledge about successful teacher interventions that can be expanded, replicated, and/or contradicted in other contexts. Analyzing Ms. Green’s practices as an exemplary case, we found that she used exceptionally short interventions (35 seconds on average), provided space for student dialogue, and applied four distinct strategies to support groups to make mathematical progress: (1) observing/listening before speaking; (2) using a combination of social and analytic scaffolds; (3) redirecting students to task instructions; (4) abruptly walking away. These findings imply that successful interventions may be characterized by brevity, shared dialogue between the teacher and students, and distinct (and sometimes unnatural) teaching moves.