Managing epistemic imbalances in peer interaction during mathematics lessons
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CitationKämäräinen, Anniina. Björn, Pia. Eronen, Lasse. Kärnä, Eija. (2019). Managing epistemic imbalances in peer interaction during mathematics lessons. Discourse studies, 21] (3) , 280-299. 10.1177/1461445619829236.
In this study, we investigated how students manage their lack of/insufficient understanding of the content of a mathematical task with the aim of reaching shared understanding and epistemic balance in peer interaction. The data consist of recordings collected during a mathematics project (6 × 75 minutes) in a Finnish lower secondary school. The findings, drawing on conversation analysis, showed two markedly different sequence trajectories: (1) how interaction between a K+ and a K− (more/less knowledgeable) student proceeded relatively smoothly when these positions were accepted by both participants, and consequently the K+ led epistemic work by designing turns that resembled teachers’ practices; and (2) how the K+/K− interaction became extended when a K− challenged the K+’s knowledge claims, and furthermore, how a K− steered the epistemic work using polar and wh-interrogatives. The findings contribute to a better understanding of the ways the management of epistemic imbalance can progress during peer group work.