Language, Mathematics and English Language Learners

Misty ADONIOU, Yi Qing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Mathematics is sometimes referred to as a 'universal language', implying anybody with mathematical understanding can solve mathematical problems regardless of the language they speak. While arithmetical notations may be mutually understood across some languages - although certainly not all - most mathematical tasks that learners encounter in school are not 'language free'. Moreover, the language required to make sense of those tasks is not the same as the language encountered in other parts of a learner's school day. The mathematics classroom generates its own complex mix of everyday language and discipline specific language and mastery of this is key to success in the mathematics classroom. The shift between everyday and specialist mathematical language is regarded as key to the development of mathematical understandings. This is evident in most mathematics curricula, which focus on everyday language in the junior grades and specialist language in senior grades (ACARA, 2012; Barwell, 2012).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-13
    Number of pages11
    JournalThe Australian Mathematics Teacher
    Volume70
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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