Each week we run a maths homework centre for any student in the school who wants help with homework or study. Two students from my strongest year 9 class come each week to help year 8 students as part of a program that requires them to complete a certain number of hours volunteering.

Today I overheard a conversation between one of these year 9 students and a girl from my year 8 class who was attempting an algebra question:

S1: Is it 10x?

S2: Why do you think it might be 10x?

S1: Because there’s an invisible 1 in front of the x that’s on its own

S2: How does that help us?

They figured out the answer was 9x, not 10x, but it was so nice to hear my students parroting both my questioning techniques and my explanations. I always try to encourage them to communicate effectively using mathematical terms but to hear it from them when they don’t know I’m listening makes my day.

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