Uptake as a mechanism to promote student learning

Clare Valerie Bell
2.629 771


This study is a descriptive examination of uptake that occurred during classroom discourse in 33 Algebra I classrooms in nine U.S. states. Uptake refers to the act of taking up mathematical comments, questions, and constructions as objects of discourse. Uptake is important because it can be used for scaffolding authentic opportunities to learn and promoting productive dispositions toward learning. Data used in this study were taken from video-recorded and transcribed observations of 63 class sessionsâ"30 participating teachers were observed twice and 3 were observed only once. Coding of uptake data resulted in 5 categories of types of utterances being taken up and 16 categories of how the utterance was used in the episode of uptake. Analysis across all categories indicates that teachers most frequently provided mathematical explanations and reasoning, even when asking for studentsâ reasoning and explanations, which limited studentsâ opportunities to express mathematical reasoning. Episodes of uptake resulting in more dialogic interaction did occur, but were relatively rare. Findings of this study have potential to help teachers and teacher educators become more aware of using uptake to strategically foster more authentic, student-centered discourse environments and increase studentsâ opportunities to learn.


Uptake, Algebra I, Opportunity to learn

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