Building on context
Context provides the basis for the development of understanding.
Teachers are central in bringing mathematisation and discussion together in RME classrooms. On our teaching techniques pages we highlighted key strategies for getting started with RME. On this page we watch Steve Gough, one of the materials writers on the team, modelling an early lesson in the Proportional Reasoning PR1 module. Working with teachers on the EEF-funded RME project, he shows how he works with context, inviting students to explain their thinking, and establishing some shared understanding about the context and the meaning of percent. Steve steps out of role at various points to comment on his strategies and how the materials support the development of understanding.
In this first clip, we see Steve introducing a relatively simple context – a school assembly hall. He uses a variety of teaching strategies – making time for thinking, getting students up to the board, teacher at the back of the classroom, asking students to evaluate each other’s contributions while remaining neutral himself. Steve comments on his thinking as the lesson goes on, and how he aims to develop a shared definition of the problem space.
In this second clip, Steve moves on in the lesson to a more complex setting in which debate about ‘how full’ an auditorium is supports clarification of the meaning of percent. We see how students take over the debate, and Steve comments on how individual students respond, and the importance of classroom culture.