# Teacher Actions to Maximize Mathematics Learning Opportunities in Heterogeneous Classrooms

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## Abstract

The basic unit of school based mathematics teaching is the lesson. This article is a contribution to understanding teacher actions that facilitate successful lessons, defined as those that engage all students, especially those who may sometimes feel alienated from mathematics and schooling, in productive and successful mathematical thinking and learning. An underlying assumption is that lessons can seek to build a sense in the students that their experience has elements in common with the rest of the class and that this can be done through attention to particular aspects of the mathematical and socio-mathematical goals. We examine three teacher actions that address the mathematical goals: using open-ended tasks, preparing prompts to support students experiencing difficulty, and posing extension tasks to students who finish the set tasks quickly; as well as actions that address the socio-mathematical goals by making classroom processes explicit. To illustrate and elaborate these actions, we describe a particular lesson taught to a heterogeneous upper primary (age 11–12) class.

## Key Words

classroom research heterogeneous class teaching lesson structure mathematics teaching teacher actions## Preview

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