This action research study examined my attempts during a six-lesson unit of instruction to implement five practices developed by Stein, Engle, Smith, and Hughes (2008) to assist novice teachers in orchestrating meaningful mathematical discussions, a component of inquiry-based teaching and learning. These practices are anticipating student responses to a mathematical task, monitoring student responses while they engage with the task, planning which of those responses will be shared, planning the sequence of that sharing, and helping students make connections among student responses. Although my initial anticipations of student responses were broad and resulted in unclear expectations during lesson planning, I observed an improvement in my ability to anticipate student responses during the unit. Additionally, I observed a high-level of interaction between my students and me while monitoring their responses but these interactions were generally characterized by low-levels of mathematical thinking. The actual sharing of student responses that I orchestrated during discussions, and the sequencing of that sharing, generally matched my plans although unanticipated responses were also shared. There was a significant amount of student interaction during the discussions characterized by high-levels of thinking, including making connections among student responses. I hypothesize that task quality was a key factor in my ability to implement the five practices and therefore recommend implementing the five practices be accompanied by training in task selection and creation.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





mathematical discussion orchestration, mathematical discourse