Different types of ambiguous student contributions occur in mathematics classrooms. In this study I identified (1) different types of ambiguous student contributions and (2) the different ways teachers respond to one particular kind of ambiguous contribution, clarifiable ambiguity. Note that clarifiable ambiguity is ambiguity that stems from a student who uses an unclear referent in their contribution and can be clarified in the moment by the particular student. Literature has focused only on ambiguity that has the potential to further the development of mathematical concepts and has only theorized about teacher responses to this specific type of ambiguity. This study identified an additional three types of ambiguous student contributions: Student Appropriation of Teacher Ambiguity, Irrelevant Ambiguity, and General Ambiguity. It was important to identify all the different types of ambiguous student contributions because teacher responses should likely be different to the different types of ambiguity. In addition, through analyzing the teacher responses to the clarifiably ambiguous student contributions, this study found that teachers addressed the clarifiably ambiguous student contributions about half the time. When the teachers did address the clarifiable ambiguity, the majority of the time the teacher clarified the ambiguity themselves with the most common response being the teacher honed in on the clarifiably ambiguity and asked for confirmation from the student on the accuracy of the clarification.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Heninger, Alicia Marie, "Ambiguous Student Contributions and Teacher Responses to Clarifiable Ambiguity in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8471.
classroom mathematics discourse, student mathematical contributions, ambiguous contributions, clarifiable ambiguity, teacher response