First language interference: a guide for teachers of mathematics

STACEY, Jennifer (2019). First language interference: a guide for teachers of mathematics. In: KELLY, Beth, DALBY, Diane, KAYE, David and STACEY, Jennifer, (eds.) Boundaries and Bridges: Adults learning mathematics in a fractured world: Proceedings of the 25th International Conference of Adults Learning Maths – A Research Forum (ALM). Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM), 85-92.

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The delivery of mathematics in English to classes of students whose first language may not be English is present in many countries including the UK, where the language of education is English, but the population may have varying levels of English competency, as it may be a second, or even third, language. I teach adults in a Further Education college in the England, and in the last few years about 25% of my students have been English language learners (ELL), half in discrete Functional Skills Mathematics classes for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), where exam questions are structured around applications of mathematics in ‘real life’ situations. The other half are in GCSE (General Certificate in Secondary Education) Mathematics provision. These mathematics qualifications are generally taken by 16–18-year-olds and are used as requirements by Higher Education for university entrance, hence the need for adults returning to education to gain the necessary grade for a successful onward journey into, say, teaching or nursing. The impact of the language content and structure on students’ ability to engage with the material in mathematics classes and exams is surprisingly high and can reduce students’ mathematics demonstrations of competencies significantly. This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all of the differences between English and other languages, but to help raise awareness of the extent and content of those differences. Of course, this is just one barrier to learning that our adult students may experience.

Item Type: Book Section
Page Range: 85-92
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2022 11:04
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 09:31

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