Filling in, Eliciting, and Interpreting Student Thinking

Filling in, eliciting, and interpreting a student’s thinking are critical for an effective learning environment. Let’s discuss each of these strategies. If you find it difficult to fill in a student’s thinking, consider these tips. By the end of this article, you will be more confident in your abilities to interpret a student’s thoughts. You will also have a clearer understanding of your students’ thought processes, and they will appreciate your efforts.

Filling in student thinking

In order to identify the underlying processes that contribute to a student’s mistakes, a teacher can employ several strategies. First, filling in the student’s thinking involves placing the student in different positions while at the same time limiting the information that the teacher has. Secondly, the teacher can elicit the student’s mistakes. Thirdly, a teacher can use the eliciting and filling codes to uncover the student’s deeper thinking and understanding.

Moreover, filling in student thinking may help PSTs develop a complete picture of the lesson. Unlike typical teacher talk, which typically begins with the closure, student thinking is developed in a continuum that builds up to the launch, elicitation, and response. Using this approach, PSTs can elicit deeper insights from student thinking and provide a more engaging learning environment. In addition, students are more likely to engage in a meaningful lesson if the teacher provides clear examples of how the process unfolds.

Eliciting student thinking

To engage students’ preconceptions and build their existing knowledge, eliciting student thinking is essential. When done correctly, eliciting student thinking signals to students that you know what you’re talking about and find their ideas interesting. Often, eliciting student thinking occurs in conjunction with interpreting student thinking. In this way, both practices can support each other. Here are some ways to elicit student thinking during your next class.

PTs can use specific questions to elicit student thinking. For example, they can write out the method the student used to add the numbers in the bottom row. They can also infer the student’s reasoning by asking them to add the numbers place by place. For each method, the PT can ask a student to fill in one specific information and then ask a follow-up question to encourage deeper thinking. Eliciting student thinking is a fundamental component of effective student-centered mathematics instruction.

Interpreting student thinking

Interpreting student thinking involves making sense of what students say. As teachers cannot see what students are thinking, we must construct a mental model based on what they say. Interpretation requires taking the perspective of the student, and positioning it within our own conceptions of relevant mathematics. This is particularly useful when students disagree or show varying levels of understanding of the topic. Here are some methods for interpretation:

To begin, teachers pose questions and seek to understand student thinking. They pay close attention to the way students behave and consider various alternative interpretations of their ideas and methods. Teachers also consider students’ communication styles and patterns of learning, which can guide instructional decisions and surface ideas that will help other students. The key is to use this information to guide the course of the discussion and to surface ideas that students may not have considered before. Understanding student thinking can also lead to better support for students’ contributions in the class.

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