Mathematics classroom is still bored and not interesting for many students. The success in mathematics classroom is determined by good collaboration among teacher and students. Good collaboration is more likely to be realized by creating a good classroom environment and implementing the suitable norms in specifically mathematical aspects, called sociomathematical norms. For over two decades, the research has been focused on the specific role of norms in students’ mathematical learning opportunities. This research has covered the investigating how norms negotiated among students and teacher and the power of norms in specific areas of mathematics (Van Zoest, Stockero, & Taylor, 2012).
Sociomathematical norms refer to the practices of participation and contribution of students as well as teacher in mathematics lesson. Sociomathematical norms are the normative aspects of mathematical discussion that are specific to the students’ mathematical activities (Yackel & Cobb, 1996). Wedege (2010) stated that sociomatematical norms combine mathematics, people and society. The implementation of these norms should be adopted in the mathematics classroom. In this paper, the reasons why sociomathematicals norms are really important to adopt will be discussed.
In several countries many teachers do not concern about sociomathematical norms because sociomathematical norms have not been accepted as a part of classroom culture where a more traditional methodology is applied. Teachers do not really understand how to implement the sociomathematical norms in their classes. Teachers have little basis to anticipate other creative solutions from students. However, sociomathematical norms will help to revise the way teachers teach mathematics in class where they are used to use a more traditional methodology to teach mathematics. In implementing sociomathematical norms, teachers tend to be equal members of the mathematics class. Teacher is the center of learning discussion where students are hoped to have more contributions in discussion activities. In addition, teacher is a representative of the mathematics community in the class (Yackel & Cobb, 1996). This is because the teacher handles the discussion in mathematics classes and also is responsible for the development of mathematical classroom and students’ activities (McClain & Cobb, 2001). During the mathematics activities, teacher helps students in improving their abilities how to deliver their knowledge to solve mathematical problems.
Sociomathematical norms help students in developing their explanation and justification skill in learning process. Explanation and justification are related to the construction of individual aspects as well as social aspect. The sociomathematical norms make students focus on mathematical thinking rather than thinking about mathematics. They are not only expected to give answers but also they can explain their strategies to get the answer. Sociomathematical norms support high-level cognitive activity (Yackel & Cobb, 1996). In this case, teachers can give some interesting, well-discussed and problem-solving-based mathematical problems which can encourage students to give solutions, compare theirs to the other students’ solutions and even judge the similarities and differences leading to create high-level cognitive activity. Acceptable mathematical explanations and justifications also deal with the actual process of making a contribution and facilitating communication. Sociomathematical norms focus on developing the interaction among students and teachers. This is because while doing mathematics, teacher and students adhere to similar rules and norms (Tatsis & Koleza, 2008) which help them to achieve learning goals.
In conclusion, by implementing these norms, mathematical class is no longer a boring class to students. They will enjoy their mathematics when they can improve their mathematical skill by giving more contribution in classroom. Teacher plays an important role to develop the mathematical quality of classroom environment, to establish norms for mathematical aspects of students and also to make students more confident in participating in mathematical activity. Eventually, there will be more benefits to the successful of mathematical activities and students’ mathematical achievements.
McClain, K., & Cobb, P. (2001). An analysis of development of sociomathematical norms in one first-grade classroom. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(3), 236.
Tatsis, K., & Koleza, E. (2008). Social and socio‐mathematical norms in collaborative problem‐solving. European Journal of Teacher Education, 31(1), 89-100. doi: 10.1080/02619760701845057
Van Zoest, L., Stockero, S., & Taylor, C. (2012). The durability of professional and sociomathematical norms intentionally fostered in an early pedagogy course. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 15(4), 293-315. doi: 10.1007/s10857-011-9183-y
Wedege, T. (2010). Sociomathematics: A subject field and a research field. http://dspace.mah.se/bitstream/handle/2043/10027/MES6-WedegeT.pdf?sequence=1
Yackel, E., & Cobb, P. (1996). Sociomathematical Norms, Argumentation, and Autonomy in Mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 27(4), 458-477. doi: 10.2307/749877