Examining Decentering in Practice: Tutors' Consideration and Application of Student Thinking
Research has been conducted to investigate the ways instructors consider, interpret, and build upon student thinking in the classroom, however, there has been a lack of research in exploring other aspects that may contribute to a student’s mathematical learning experience, including tutoring. To understand how tutors make sense of and build upon student thinking, or take efforts to decenter, this study collected data from three undergraduate mathematics tutors employed in a university mathematics department virtual drop-in tutoring center. The participants were asked to record three sessions of their one-on-one interactions with students and participate in a stimulated recall interview following the collection of all the tutoring sessions. Using qualitative analysis methods, the research team inductively coded the data to identify instances of the tutors behaving at emerging, progressing, or exemplary levels of decentering. After coding the data, the codebook was mapped to Baş-Ader and Carlson’s (2021) decentering framework. The findings suggest that undergraduate tutors have the ability to decenter at exemplary levels. Furthermore, the findings portray a decentering behavioral progression for each of the tutors, adding specificity to the existing decentering frameworks. This work proposes implications for tutor professional development.