Contingency in the mathematics classroom: Opportunities taken and opportunities missed

Tim Rowland, Rina Zazkis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


We describe and analyze three episodes from mathematics classrooms. In each case, the teacher was confronted by a "contingent" situation that they had not anticipated or planned for yet that offered interesting and fruitful learning possibilities if pursued. In two cases, we analyze the teacher's response; in the third, we speculate how they might have responded. In each case, we propose that the teacher's ability to capitalize on these contingent situations is underpinned by their knowledge and awareness of the mathematical potential of the unexpected opportunity and by an interest in, and commitment to, mathematical enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-153
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Issue number2
Early online date31 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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