Thursday 24 November 2022. 12:30pm - 1:00pm

Carol Murphy

Towards dialogism in mathematics: a challenge in practice

Contact Author: Carol Murphy (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

School of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston Tasmania 7250, Australia


The study of dialogic pedagogy has been a growing area and there is now a substantial body of literature in this field generally and in mathematics specifically (e.g., Mercer & Sams, 2006). Despite this maturing knowledge, adoption of dialogic practices in mathematics classrooms remains limited (Kibler et al., 2020). 

Dialogic pedagogy has two different theoretical origins, Vygotskyan sociocultural theory and Bakhtinian notion of transgredience, and is not straightforward to define. Nevertheless, dialogic pedagogies are typically related to transmissive, univocal pedagogies where knowledge is presented as fixed and the authoritative voice of the teacher and/or textbook is emphasised. In contrast, the emphasis of dialogic or multivocal pedagogy is on inquiry and problem-posing where knowledge is treated ambiguously, creating space for interaction and rearticulation of thoughts with others.

These contrasts suggest a tension in developing dialogic practices in mathematics classrooms. Teachers often have concerns in helping their students access content knowledge. A question arises how provocations arising from a dichotomous perspective can be resolved in ways to help teachers develop their practice towards more student-centred approaches but maintain a focus on knowledge.