for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Frederick A. Peck - Vol. 42 Num. 1 (2022)
 Finding learning in ‘off task’ behavior: artifacts, agency, and second stimuli


In this paper I analyze a problem solving event in a secondary mathematics classroom. As the event unfolds, the teachers, including me, understand the event as involving interactions that were not related to learning. By adopting an expansive view of learning, I advance a different interpretation, that the interactions tell a story of student agency and perseverance, through which a neutral artifact gains new meaning, and a learner produces new forms of agency. I suggest that Vygotsky’s notion of a ‘second stimulus’ can be an important theoretical construct to analyze such learning events.