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Presume that students are coming from a sensible place and then work to understand them

Program structure

Across a full academic year, participants meet regularly to consider data from their own classes — excerpts from video-recordings and samples of students' written work.

We explore these data for what they have to say about what disciplinary ideas students may be expressing and how students may be approaching learning in our courses. We also consider possible implications for instructional moves, in the specific context of a given interchange and more generally.

Activity occurs across three different settings:

  • Semester kick off (120-minute gathering) - The full cohort meets together.
  • Pair sessions (90-minute workshops, 4 times per semester) - Participants are paired with peers from other disciplines.
  • Larger group sessions (90-minute workshops, 4 times per semester) - Participants are grouped into sets of 8-10 instructors.


We're mainly working on listening to students' disciplinary thinking — attending closely to what students have to say and trying to understand them:

What's he trying to say here?

What's her thinking on this?

Where are they coming from?

Want to see some excerpts of student thinking and try this out on your own? Click below:

...sometimes what [students] do is they would go off the beaten path and they would write the solution in a slightly different way, and… now... if I see something a little different, that's like “I gotta be more careful here, not less careful here...

The Listening Project is supported by a grant to Tufts University from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Science Education Program.