RME is about promoting and sustaining mathematical discussions.

RME materials are designed so that students can generate their own strategies for dealing with mathematical problems. This means that a large part of the teacher’s role is to support them in the process of mathematisation, encouraging students to engage as mathematicians by:

  • articulating their own reasoning clearly,
  • listening to others’ strategies and explanations,
  • and looking carefully at mathematical representations.

RME teachers aim to help students deepen their understanding by listening to one another and collaboratively refining their thinking. To make this happen, there needs to be time for thinking and space to offer suggestions — differences of opinion make the discussion work.

This page introduces eight key strategies for promoting mathematical discussion. We draw on examples from our materials to help you find ways to apply these techniques in your classroom.

Four strategies which focus on promoting discussion:

Four strategies which focus on mathematising:

In our materials, each module includes a Teaching Guide with ideas about when and how to use these strategies.

For each slide in our materials, the Teaching Guide includes a section on ‘What the teacher might do’ that can support your questioning for individual problems and wider lesson planning. The section on ‘What the student might do’ provides details on the variety of strategies or solutions (not necessarily ‘correct’) that students might come up with. Working with this variety is central to classroom discussion.