The linguistic challenges of mathematics teaching and learning: A research review

  • Schleppegrell M
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Abstract

This article synthesizes research by applied linguists and mathematics educators to highlight the linguistic challenges of mathematics and suggest pedagogical practices to help learners in mathematics classrooms. The linguistic challenges include the multi-semiotic formations of mathematics, its dense noun phrases that participate in relational processes, and the precise meanings of conjunctions and implicit logical relationships that link elements in mathematics discourse. Research on pedagogical practices supports developing mathematics knowledge through attention to the way language is used, suggesting strategies for moving students from informal, everyday ways of talking about mathematics into the registers that construe more technical and precise meanings. This article synthesizes research by applied linguists and mathematics educators to highlight the linguistic challenges of mathematics and suggest pedagogical practices to help learners in mathematics classrooms. The linguistic challenges include the multi-semiotic formations of mathematics, its dense noun phrases that participate in relational processes, and the precise meanings of conjunctions and implicit logical relationships that link elements in mathematics discourse. Research on pedagogical practices supports developing mathematics knowledge through attention to the way language is used, suggesting strategies for moving students from informal, everyday ways of talking about mathematics into the registers that construe more technical and precise meanings.

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Authors

  • M. Schleppegrell

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