|Author(s)||Caroline Cohrssen, Amelia Church, Collette Taylor|
|Title||Purposeful pauses: Teacher talk during early childhood mathematics activities|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Teacher, Silence, Classroom, Early Childhood, intentional teaching|
|Journal||International Journal of Early Years Education|
This paper describes how early childhood teachers' incorporation of pauses raises the quality of talk-in-interaction during play-based mathematics activities. Responses of both children and teachers are shown to be more contingent and expansive when conversations include protracted pauses than during interactions in which pauses are largely absent. Pauses provided children with opportunities to initiate topics and facilitated more equitable access to discourse moves for children. By pausing before responding to a child's conversational gambit, teachers gained opportunities to assess children's demonstrated numeracy-related skills and understanding, and could thus provide authentic, individualised scaffolding. Pauses were not necessarily silent: a pause in an interaction with one child could be used strategically to model the learning interaction with a second child before returning to the first child in order to continue the discourse sequence.