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How Should Fifth-Grade Mathematics Teachers Start the School Year?: Relations Between Teacher–Student Interactions and Mathematics Instruction Over One Year


by Holland W. Banse, Timothy W. Curby, Natalia A. Palacios & Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman — 2018

Background: Teaching is comprised of interconnected practices. Some practices are domain neutral (DN), or independent of a content area. Examples of DN practices include emotional and instructional support and classroom organization. Others are domain specific (DS), or content dependent. Within a mathematics context, examples of DS practices include mathematical discourse, tasks, and coherent lessons.

Purpose: Using extant fifth-grade teacher observation data, we investigate the following questions: (1) Do quality DN practices at the start of a fifth-grade school year relate to higher DS practices at the end of the year? (2) Do early, quality DS practices relate to later, higher use of DN practices? Specifically, we investigate relations between emotional support and mathematical discourse, instructional support and mathematical tasks, and classroom organization and mathematical coherence.

Research Design: We use an autoregressive, cross-lagged structural equation model with three time points from a single academic year.

Findings/Results: Results indicated that early levels of high emotional support and classroom organization were associated with later high levels of mathematical discourse and coherence, respectively. Early implementation of demanding tasks was associated with later, higher instructional support.

Recommendations: We discuss implications for professional development and practice. Specifically, we suggest that teachers and instructional coaches consider how DN and DS practices relate to each other in order to boost teachers’ effectiveness.

Keywords: teacher–student interactions, longitudinal relations, mathematics education, elementary schools, instructional practices



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 120 Number 6, 2018, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22161, Date Accessed: 9/22/2017 1:02:02 PM

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About the Author
  • Holland Banse
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    HOLLAND BANSE is a doctoral student at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia in the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science program. She is interested in mathematics instruction and supportive classroom environments for language minority students.
  • Timothy Curby
    George Mason University
    E-mail Author
    TIMOTHY CURBY is Associate Professor at George Mason University and conducts research on early childhood classroom experiences and applying advanced statistical models to school-based research.
  • Natalia Palacios
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    NATALIA PALACIOS is Assistant Professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include teacher interactions with linguistically diverse students, with particular focus on the educational contexts experienced by Latino children.
  • Sara Rimm-Kaufman
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    SARA RIMM-KAUFMAN is Professor at the Curry School of Education, where she directs the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science program and conducts research on teacher–student interactions in elementary school classrooms.
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