Student or Teacher? A Look at How Students Facilitate Public Sensemaking During Collaborative Groupwork

Keywords: groupwork, authority, agency, positioning


As institutions strive to improve teaching and learning for all, educators must consider equitable instruction. In particular, equitable distributions of authority and agency among students. The authors define distribution of authority as shared opportunities for decision-making in enacting mathematical tasks, and agency as the power to carry out these self-made decisions. Equitable distributions of authority and agency can be enhanced in mathematics public sensemaking classrooms where students participate in discourse as active members of the classroom. In public sensemaking classrooms, students understand and acknowledge one another's ideas, present and revise arguments, and take risks by sharing ideas. This study investigates one group of students and how they positioned one another during mathematical groupwork in a public sensemaking classroom, as well as how the positioning impacted the distribution of agency and authority. Analyses indicate that one student replicates the role of teacher by redistributing authority and agency back to other students. The findings intend to inform classroom teachers of the positioning patterns that may occur during groupwork, and the effectiveness of public sensemaking classrooms on distributing authority and agency equitably during groupwork.


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How to Cite
Lo, M., & Ruef, J. (2020). Student or Teacher? A Look at How Students Facilitate Public Sensemaking During Collaborative Groupwork. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 13(1), 15–33.