Abstract

Current interest in mathematics learning that focuses on understanding, mathematical reasoning and meaning making underscores the need to develop ways of analyzing classrooms that foster these types of learning. In this paper, the author show that the constructs of social and socio-mathematical norms, which grew out of taking a symbolic interactionist perspective, and Toulmins scheme for argumentation, as elaborated for mathematics education by Krummheuer [The ethnology of argumentation. In: The emergence of mathematical meaning: Interaction in classroom cultures (1995, pp. 229-269). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum], provide us with means to analyze aspects of explanation, justification and argumentation in mathematics classrooms, including means through which they can be fostered. Examples from a variety of classrooms are used to clarify how these notions can inform instruction at all levels, from the elementary grades through university-level mathematics.