There is More to Examples than Meets the Eye

Orit Zaslavsky
Department of Education in Technology and Science
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa

The knowledge teachers need for judicious construction and choice of mathematical examples is a special kind of knowledge that is crafted throughout their practice. It involves many different considerations, and often requires in-the-moment decisions and problem solving skills.

In my presentation I will give an overview of the role of examples in mathematical thinking, learning, and teaching. Based on findings from a three year study examining secondary mathematics teachers' treatment of instructional examples, I will focus on ways in which experienced teachers select, adapt, and generate examples in and for a real or hypothetical mathematics classroom, and will highlight the explanatory features of examples that potentially support learning.

In addition, the notion of example-space will be discussed, and a mathematics example-related teaching cycle that accounts for teachers' learning in the course of their treatment of examples will be introduced.

Return to the 2009 Conference on RUME home page.