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Justification as a Teaching and Learning Practice: Its (Potential) Multifacted Role in Middle Grades Mathematics Classrooms
Journal of Mathematical Behavior (2012)
  • Megan E. Staples
  • Eva Thanheiser, Portland State University
  • Joanna Bartlo

Justification is a core mathematics practice. Although the purposes of justification in the mathematician community have been studied extensively, we know relatively little about its role in K-12 classrooms. This paper documents the range of purposes identified by 12 middle grades teachers who were working actively to incorporate justification into their classrooms and compares this set of purposes with those documented in the research mathematician community. Results indicate that the teachers viewed justification as a powerful practice to accomplish a range of valued classroom teaching and learning functions. Some of these purposes overlapped with the purposes in the mathematician community; others were unique to the classroom community. Perhaps surprisingly, absent was the role of justification in verifying mathematical results. An analysis of the relationship between the purposes documented in the mathematics classroom community and the research mathematician community highlights how these differences may reflect the distinct goals and professional activities of the two communities. Implications for mathematics education and teacher development are discussed.

  • Communities of practice,
  • Justification,
  • Learning practice,
  • Middle school,
  • Proof,
  • Role of proof,
  • Teaching practice
Publication Date
December, 2012
Citation Information
Megan E. Staples, Eva Thanheiser and Joanna Bartlo. "Justification as a Teaching and Learning Practice: Its (Potential) Multifacted Role in Middle Grades Mathematics Classrooms" Journal of Mathematical Behavior Vol. 31 Iss. 4 (2012)
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