The Mathematics Learning Discourse Project: Fostering Higher Order Thinking and Academic Language in Urban Mathematics Classrooms

Megan E. Staples, Mary P. Truxaw


In this article, the authors report results from a small-scale study of the Mathematics Learning Discourse (MLD) project that aimed to affect change in urban mathematics classrooms. The project focused on enhancing students understanding of mathematics through an emphasis on classroom discourse and higher order thinking. Four teachers participated in a 3-day summer course and yearlong collaboration that was organized around three principles for supporting a learning discourse in their respective classrooms: appropriate and effective development of students academic language, student engagement in mathematical practices of justification and collective argumentation, and access for all students to rigorous mathematics. The authors discuss the research base for the MLD program, its implementation, and its effectas well as promiseby analyzing student scores on pre- and post-assessments both for mathematical performance and for the development of students proficiency with academic language and justification.


academic language, collaboration, mathematics education, professional development, urban education

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Illuminating Urban Excellence