Many studies in mathematics education have emphasized the importance of attending to students’ interactions, particularly, their mathematical reasoning when collaborating on solving problems. However, the question of how teachers can facilitate students’ productive interactions for learning mathematics, is still a challenging one. This case study aims to provide detailed insights into opportunities and limitations related to teachers’ actions for the productivity of students’ interactional patterns solving a linear function problem together. Four student-pairs in the first year of upper secondary school (11th grade) serve as a background on students’ interactional patterns, which in this study focused on three interactional aspects: collaborative processes, mathematical reasoning, and exercised agency. The student-pairs’ three teachers provide insights on teacher actions observed as different funneling and focusing actions, which elucidated opportunities and limitations in several situations influencing the productivity of students’ interactional patterns. The study used purposive sampling in selecting the particular school and three teachers, which were chosen based on acquaintances and willingness to participate in the study. The students’ interaction when solving the mathematical problem and the teachers’ interaction with the pairs were video recorded and observed by the researchers. The analysis method was a deductive analytical strategy, where specific events of interactions were identified, based on the three interactional aspects combined with teacher actions. Coding schemes on students’ interactions were used, as well as on teacher actions. The findings indicate that teachers’ actions and questions influenced students’ interactions, but mainly their reasoning, and particularly the primary agent’s reasoning. Moreover, students who were engaged in interactional patterns called bi-directional and one-directional did not change their ways of interacting after a teacher interaction. Thus, the teachers’ actions did not impact students’ collaborative processes and agencies in the same way as their reasoning. This study adds to the field of mathematics education by illuminating the importance of teachers being aware of students’ roles when they work together, for facilitating a productive interaction for both students in dyads. The study highlights the importance of further research on teacher actions and teacher awareness for facilitating collaborative situations of bi-directional interactions for students’ shared understanding of mathematical concepts and ideas.
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