Bilingual undergraduate students’ language use and meta-level developments relating to functions

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Abstract

This study examines the use of languages (English and Irish) by bilingual undergraduate mathematics learners. Although many studies exist examining the role of language in learning mathematics, fewer studies have examined the specific use of languages by bilingual learners when engaged in mathematical thinking. This study adopts a commognitive lens to examine whether language use by two bilingual undergraduate mathematics learners impacts upon meta-level mathematical processes of the learners, in particular in relation to functions. The findings suggest that the learners' rarely engaged in code switching between languages when performing mathematical tasks and also that completing the mathematical tasks individually or in pairs impacted on the choice of language employed in the discourse. There was greater evidence of the learners employing meta-level discourse through the medium of Irish than English. Overall, the learners' language preferences for communicating mathematics learning are situated and can impact on the discursive processes of bilingual learners.

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Ní Ríordáin, M., & Flanagan, E. (2020). Bilingual undergraduate students’ language use and meta-level developments relating to functions. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 32(3), 475–496. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-019-00268-z

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