Agency in a geometry review lesson: A linguistic view on teacher and student division of labor

Gloriana González, Anna F. DeJarnette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown that expert mathematics teachers are more effective than novices eliciting and incorporating students' ideas during review lessons. In this paper, we inquire into students' agency in a review. We ask: (1) What is the division of labor between the teacher and the students? (2) What linguistic resources does an expert teacher use to manage students' contributions? We examined classroom videos of an experienced geometry teacher who conducted reviews in four lessons. We applied Systemic Functional Linguistics to identify the resources from the system of Negotiation used. We found that the teacher had more agency than the students. However, in one lesson, the teacher's performance of Negotiation moves enabled the students to have some agency in the selection of components of the review tasks. Overall, students' performance of dynamic moves enabled them to address their difficulties and the teacher's performance of move complexes made explicit the operations to be remembered. We suggest ways for teachers to enable students to have agency during reviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-199
Number of pages18
JournalLinguistics and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Agency
  • Discursive moves
  • Geometry
  • Mathematics
  • Systemic Functional Linguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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