How do I encourage mathematical thinking and communicating in my students?


  • develop a community of mathematicians
  • create a safe environment where risk-taking is encouraged, mistakes are seen as learning opportunities and everyone’s contributions are valued
  • focus on thinking and reasoning, rather than only finding answer
  • value diverse approaches and encouraging flexibility
  • encourage various approaches to communicate and develop mathematical thinking (math talks, think/pair/share, number routines, math journaling, representing with materials)
  • foster multiple learning modalities to “show what you know”
  • responsive teaching-active listening, noticing, observing, guiding, asking prompting questions, providing mathematical language so that student ideas and contributions are central



This article was created by the Ministry of Ontario "to spark dialogue and debate on how to develop a mathematical habit of mind, not just for students but for educators as well, to move the math beyond the walls of the mathematics program to teaching and learning across the curriculum and across the day."

Building Thinking Classrooms video. More information here.