A challenge in mathematics education research has been to document the complex nature of collective mathematical learning. This paper describes a method of data analysis that offers a visual representation of collective discourse during mathematical tasks. Using data extracts from a study of small groups in a middle years classroom, I color code collective utterances to create a “tapestry,” a type of transcript that offers researchers the ability to move between individual and collective planes of focus during analysis. The nature of collective thinking is revealed by tapestries, including how utterances bump against each other, the role of utterances evolves as the context of discussion changes, and the potential for self-structuring within collective discourse.


Collective Discourse, Mathematics Education, Small Groups, Middle Years Students, Collective Understanding

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Alayne Armstrong is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: alayne.armstrong@uregina.ca.


This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant #452-2010-2389.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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