Vol 23 No 2 (2014)

Musings around Participation in the Mathematics Classroom

Published May 1, 2015


Do you want to know something that Melanie and I have noticed? Okay, picture this: You ask a question, “Who thinks that division is the right thing for this problem?” Melanie and I, neither of us raise our hands. Nobody else raises his or her hands, except maybe Daniel, because he is an individualist. And then you say, “Who thinks it’s subtraction?” Melanie says, “Ah, I think it’s subtraction,” and raises her hand. Most of the—I think it’s the boys [Melanie pipes in, confirming, “Yeah, the boys”]—most of the boys raise their hands when Melanie raises her hand. Okay. And then you say, “Who thinks it’s addition?” and no one raises their hand. Then you say, “Who thinks it’s multiplication?” and I raise my hand, and then everybody who hasn’t raised their hand raises their hand, especially the girls, except for maybe Ann, who actually has a brain. (Civil, 2002b, p. 59)