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It attempts to foreground how the challenges and complexities between policy and practice in the teaching and learning of STEM subjects in multilingual settings intersect and how they (policy and practice) influence educational processes, developments and outcomes. Using interactive applications to support elementary mathematics learning in multilingual contexts: Implications for practice and policy.

About the Editors


Salvador Huitzilopochtli Yuunivarsiitii Kaalifoorniyaa, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Mana Barumsaa Barnootaa Evalisa Katabua, Yuunivarsiitii Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Afrikaa Kibbaa. Inistiitiyuutii Herrega, Saayinsii Uumamaa fi Barnoota Qaamaa Evariste Minani, Yuunivarsiitii Ruwaandaa-Kolleejjii Barnootaa, Kaayonzaa, Ruwaandaa.

1 Monolingual Policies and Practices, Multilingual Learners

The "one classroom, one language, one mathematics" tradition actually forms an important part of the foundation for most classroom research in the field of mathematics education. Such a position has implications for mathematics teacher education policy and pedagogy, but also for methodological practices in the wider field of research and for research and practice in related educational fields.

2 Monolingually Oriented Educational Policies

Language policies in education and collaborative studies in my larger research context over the last two decades co-illustrate a general example of monolingual orientations entering and challenging multilingual research in the mathematics classroom in the form of choices about what to ask, claim, and conclude. Regardless of how teachers put these policy principles into practice, we find a representation of the mainstream classroom as a place where the language of instruction is the 'normal means of expression', which resonates with the representation of language as a neutral tool of communication.

3 Progress in Multilingual Mathematics Classroom Research

First Concern: Asking Questions About Codeswitching

An assumption underlying these questions was that the contrast between mathematical participation in small and whole groups was a consequence of the language most often spoken in the interaction. In the lesson of the excerpt, the teacher wanted the students to think about and graphically represent the composition of spatial transformations on the plane, such as translations, rotations, homotheties and symmetries.

Second Concern: Asking Questions About Languaging

It is far from easy for this to happen and is seen in the context of naturalized norms that enforce the adequacy of specific school mathematics in the language of instruction, which tends to limit classroom talk and mathematical curiosity. Martínez (2018) with bilingual participants in language immersion classes in Colombia and in the United States, and Phakeng et al. 2018) with data from South African, Indian and Catalan trilingual classrooms, also illustrates language events with language inventions and innovative talks about language and some of the positive effects on mathematical work and learning.

Third Concern: Asking Questions About Translanguaging

While we may be attentive and sensitive to the politics of our choices in research, we may involuntarily continue to prescribe linguistic differentiation and mathematical universalism, thereby limiting the representation of some learner skills in the data and findings. Although this choice may be subject to criticism, the analytical focus on mathematical content and on processes of mathematical significance aligns positively with a translingual viewpoint in the research domain.

4 Implications of Translingual Research for Mathematics Teacher Education

As a mathematics teacher educator at my university, I looked for such cross-linguistic spaces in the curriculum. Lidia equated the precision in the school definition of a mathematical concept with the pedagogical conditions of linguistic processes for the formation of mathematical meaning and the interpretation of the concept.

5 The Translingual Position in the Research Field of Mathematics Education

In this final section, the focus shifts to some of the implications for mathematics education research of interpreting and integrating findings related to recent translingual research on multilingual mathematics classrooms. The examination of the effects of the translinguistic position in terms of policy, practice and research is thus concluded.

Language-as-resource and language-as-political: Tensions in the bilingual mathematics classroom.Mathematics Education Research Journal. She is also editor-in-chief of the Spanish Journal of Research in Mathematics Education.

Linguistic Complexity

Classrooms: Challenges and Prospects


1 Introduction

2 Linguistic Complexity in Monolingual Contexts

Their distinction is in terms of purpose and context of use, caused by the use of different lexical, syntactic and semantic patterns. Dialects usually contain unique lexical, syntactic and phonological subtleties which make them languages ​​within a language.

3 Linguistic Complexity in Multilingual Contexts

This places spoken and academic language at two ends of the continuum, with students coming into the classroom with different levels of ability (at different points on the spoken-academic language continuum) within a language. The density, lexical and syntactic complexity, as well as the use and non-use of prosodic and non-linguistic information of the two modes, make them linguistically diverse.

4 Linguistic Complexity in STEM Subjects

Although it is common knowledge that STEM subjects are a unique language in their own right, learning to read the STEM language is not taught overtly/systematically (but taught concurrently with the content), nor is the teaching of STEM language reading is supported by a body of research. If we accept that, as learners learn to read in English (for example), they also learn to read in content areas; is a denial of the distinction between English and STEM language.

5 Summing the Layered Linguistic Complexity

For Clarkson and Carter (2017, p. 238) “incorporation of many symbols and shortening of sentences are also elements of the written STEM language that are quite different from everyday language ...”. The common practice in STEM is to teach symbol and graphic literacy when you encounter the symbols or graphs during class.

6 Policy–Research–Practice Dissonance/Confluence

  • Policy
  • Research
  • Practice
  • Constraining Misconceptions

The focus on language as a problem stems from a lack of understanding of minority languages ​​and the need to advance the knowledge of minority language speakers in LoLT. The latter role allows the teacher to imagine possibilities for language exchange in a multilingual class and to organize for it.

7 Prospects for Language Use in Multilingual Contexts

  • The Structural Relation Between Language and STEM
  • The Registers and Discourses Relating to STEM
  • The Interactions in STEM Classrooms
  • The Different Theoretical Tools and Approaches

In a witty play on words, Robertson and Graven (2020) describe English (in the South African context) as the “language of power” while students' native languages ​​represent “language power”. Otheguy et al. (2015, p. 281) definition of translation as "the deployment of the speaker's entire linguistic repertoire without regard for careful observance of socially and politically defined boundaries of named (and usually national and state) languages" is in line with the proposal of this chapter.

8 Conclusion

Language Approach to Content Instruction (LACI) for English Language Learners: Examples from two elementary teachers. International multilingual research journal Language in Education Policy. https://www.education.gov.zaD dokumenti/policies/LanguageEducationPolicy1997 (accessed 15 June 2020). The Influence of Language Factors on Student Achievement in Science.South African Journal of Education.

Language in Multilingual Classrooms

A brief outline of South African language policy in education is given to set out the current situation in mathematics in the early grades. In the central part of the chapter, we present, share, and discuss empirical episodes that illustrate some of the ways in which translation and translanguaging differ, and also how the latter constructs multiple opportunities for incorporating language into a multisemiotic bundle of representational registers that can be combined to support creating meaning.

2 The South African Language in Education Policy

We draw on evidence from primary literacy and early mathematics achievement studies to note that there are broad concerns about the effectiveness of the policy. We conclude the chapter with a discussion of what these findings suggest for strengthening language policy and teacher training in relation to early grades mathematics instruction.

3 Primary School Attainment and Mathematics Learning and Teaching Evidence

Spaull (2016) emphasizes the importance of language in the early years of teaching and learning, but warns researchers to show some understanding of the distinction between the language of instruction and the quality of instruction. Instead, it would be useful to consider teaching with language as one of the factors to be investigated.

4 Early Grades’ Mathematics Learning: Moving Between Representational Registers

Essentially, it's a different kind of conversion movement, and one that's more akin to translating between languages ​​than structurally converting between representations. Taken together, the literature on multiple representations indicates that instruction should focus on two aspects: first, supporting children to make connections between representations by juxtaposing them and explaining and elaborating the connections; and second, connecting situations described in everyday language and involving concrete actions with increasingly formal mathematical representations.

5 Early Grades’ Mathematics Learning: Moving Between Languages

Beyond the 'in the moment' versus 'planned' distinction between translation and translanguaging, definitions of translanguaging indicate a task that goes beyond a primary, or even sole, focus on oral language. Our aim in this chapter is to illustrate key aspects of the differences between translation and translanguaging.

6 Data Sources and Analytical Methodology

We conclude this chapter with a clear distinction between translational and translinguistic moves that places these pedagogical moves in a hierarchical relationship with one another, in ways that connect to Duval's hierarchy of treatment and conversion moves. In this chapter, we provide empirical support for this claim through an analysis of classroom extracts that show the teacher's shifts between mathematical and multilingual representations.

7 Illustrative Excerpts: Commentaries and Analysis

These movements between languages ​​were juxtaposed in our analysis with the ways teachers move between mathematical registers, with treatment movements coded as MM1 and conversion movements, in Duval's terms, coded as MM2. In the context of the incorrect offering of 70, the teacher deliberately uses gestures between languages ​​to emphasize the difference between the number names for 17 and 70 in Sepedi.

Fig. 1 Two different translation moves
Fig. 1 Two different translation moves

8 Discussion

In the second extract, a translation move is accompanied by a move between a number card resource that provides access to base ten number structure and the spoken language. In contrast, mathematical conversion moves that go beyond the oral or written restatement of a word or phrase offer extension in the same ways that translingual moves can.

9 Policy and Practice Implications

2000).Language power and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. 2010).The status of the language of learning and teaching (LOLT) in South African public schools: A quantitative review. Her work in South Africa was in the area of ​​Mathematical Literacy and Primary Mathematics.

Teaching in Multilingual Classrooms

Language Practices and Policy Imperatives

Meanwhile, research elsewhere shows that classroom teaching has the potential to create the kind of learner interaction expected in the South African curriculum. How then can science teachers create opportunities for learner talk and engagement in whole class teaching in these multilingual contexts.

2 Mortimer and Scott’s Framework for Analysing Interaction in Science Classrooms

I draw on Mortimer and Scott's (2003) framework for analyzing teacher-student interaction in science classrooms to illustrate how the two teachers were able to create such teacher-led whole-class dialogic interaction. In the excerpts below, I show how the two teachers were able to create closed and open chains in their lessons.

Fig. 1 My visual impression of Mortimer and Scott’s (2003) categorisation of classroom talk along the two continuums (Adapted from Msimanga, 2013)
Fig. 1 My visual impression of Mortimer and Scott’s (2003) categorisation of classroom talk along the two continuums (Adapted from Msimanga, 2013)

3 The Teachers and Their Practices 3.1 Mrs. Thoba

Mr. Far

He often talked about giving his students access to good education so that they could change their personal situation and escape the poverty that prevailed in their community.

4 Characterisation of Teacher–Learner Interaction in Mrs

Thoba’s Lesson

I consider this a typical dialogical dialogue between the teacher and not one but three students. In turn 54, the teacher then gives "permission" to "say it in your language, it's fine," to which the student replies, "In my language ma'am.

5 Characterisation of Teacher–learner Interaction in Mr

The teacher's action of encouraging Tahari to give the explanation in her language signals that it is acceptable in her class for science to be discussed in a language other than English. However, when she eventually engaged in her language, she was able to explain her understanding of the concept and provide an acceptable answer to the question.

Far’s Lessons

The next 15 minutes of the lesson were spent with students simulating collisions with various objects and the teacher talking them through their observations. Do you all see this?” The teacher then took P's idea (gesture) and used it to get the class to think through and name the collision.

6 Discussion and Conclusions

In the current political context in South Africa, teachers often have to choose between what they know about the pedagogical benefits of their students' language use and the demands of school policy regarding language use in the classroom. 2016). Language and the opportunity to learn science in bilingual classrooms in the Eastern Cape, South Africa (PhD dissertation, University of Cape Town).

Multilingualism? Early Grade

Mathematics Teachers’ and Students’

Language Use in Multilingual Classes in South Africa

This figure stood at 18% in the updated report on the status of LoLT in South African schools in 2016 (Sapire & Roberts, 2017). What is the relationship between LLT and home language for teachers and students.

2 Theoretical Orientation

What variation in language use becomes apparent when teachers and students solve and explain problems with calculation patterns. What variation in language use becomes apparent when teachers and students translate selected mathematical terminology (words and sentences) on the mathematical subject of patterns.

3 Bilingualism/Multilingualism in the Learning and Teaching of Mathematics

Embodied ideologies can also be identified in written material, which is reflected in the language used in a written artifact. Multilingual language use can take many forms (considered mainly as code-switching and/or translanguaging), but monolingual language use takes one form: the pure use of only one recognized language.

4 Methodology

The primary purpose of the questionnaire was to collect language use data—it was not designed to 'test' mathematical knowledge. This suited the aims of the research as it allowed freedom of language, leaving the choice in the control of the individual completing the questionnaire.

5 How Data Was Collected, Captured and Analysed

Coding of the language used in the responses to the pattern items was done by the multilingual research team. The correct translations given in the third part of the survey data were all entered into the excel sheets.

6 Findings

Home Language and LoLT

Themes that emerged from the qualitative teacher perception data were used to comment on the articulated language ideologies exhibited by the participating teachers in the sample. Evidence from the second and third parts of the survey data provides insight into teachers' and students' language use, revealing clashes between the monoglossic ideology embodied in the curriculum policy document (which supports monolingual LoLT choices) and the heteroglossic language ideologies of some teachers (and students).

Language Use in Written Mathematical Explanations

Similar tables were drawn up for the students in the sample and the correspondence between students' home language and LoLT in the sample schools was also low (37% Izulu and 11% Setswana). In the two different examples shown in Figure 3, only one language was used in the explanation, which was code for the use of pure language.

Fig. 2 Examples of mixed language used in explanations
Fig. 2 Examples of mixed language used in explanations

Language Use with Regard to the Mathematics Register

From the point of view of the mathematical register, all these were accepted as correct "translations" between languages. An examination of translation performance in eight different translation batches revealed certain patterns.

Fig. 5 ‘Translations’ given diagrammatically, symbolically or numerically
Fig. 5 ‘Translations’ given diagrammatically, symbolically or numerically

7 Discussion and Conclusion

Essien is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is also a current member of the International Committee (Board of Trustees) of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (IGPME).

Implications on Pedagogical Strategies in Tanzania Secondary Schools

The evidence is that English as a language of instruction is introduced in secondary or upper primary education. In 1967, Kiswahili became the official language of instruction in primary school, and then English began to be used in post-school education (Rubagumya, 2003; Vavrus, 2002).

2 Literature Review

Education Policy Reforms in Tanzania

Furthermore, the results of this research will be useful to education stakeholders, school leaders and STEM teachers who may wish to promote the integration of content and the use of the English language in teaching and learning STEM. However, after a thorough review of the 1995 Education Policy, the 2014 Education Policy proposed a more feasible structure by MoEST, 2015) to enable students to complete the formal education cycles in a short time.

Language Supportive Pedagogy and STEM Teaching and Learning

Another approach was introduced by the language-supported teaching and textbook in the Tanzania project (Barrett et al., 2014). CLIL and Language Support Teaching and Textbook (LSTT) approaches emphasize using Kiswahili to improve English (Barrett & Bainton, 2016; Massler et al., 2014).

3 Research Theoretical Context

In Tanzania, several pedagogical approaches have been introduced and implemented to support students to learn STEM as a solution to policy implication (Gabrieli et al., 2018; Barrett & Bainton, 2016). It includes the use of language support activities, which means translation when necessary and translation from English to Kiswahili for students.

4 Methodology 4.1 Study Area

  • Research Approach and Research Design
  • Data Collection
  • Control of Threats to Internal Validity
  • Data Analysis

This phase consisted of the lesson observation and formative assessment in biology focused on systematic invertebrates. One of the teachers participating in the lesson planning volunteered to teach, while others remained the observers.

5 Results

Implications of Education Language Policy on Teaching and Learning STEM

To solve the problem, teachers tend to use both English and Kiswahili to help us understand the lesson. sometimes teachers use Kiswahili in class. Yes, the policy requires teachers to teach in English, but when we teach in English, students do not understand the content of the course.

Effectiveness of Pedagogical Language Strategies in STEM Teaching and Learning

It is now easy for me to provide activities according to the students' level and use different language strategies that mix Kiswahili and English, thus helping the students to understand the biology subject content. In addition, the use of both Kiswahili and English helped students improve writing, speaking, reading and listening skills.

6 Discussion

Implications of Education Language Policy on Teaching and Learning STEM

2018) found that students struggle with using the English language as it appears to be the third language for the majority, the first being the mother tongue and the second being Kiswahili. As a result, teachers struggle to teach subject content in the language that students understand less.

Table 3 Classroom observations on pedagogical language strategies through inquiry process (Note T = Teacher, S = Student, N for students = 250, N for teachers = 20)
Table 3 Classroom observations on pedagogical language strategies through inquiry process (Note T = Teacher, S = Student, N for students = 250, N for teachers = 20)

Effectiveness of Pedagogical Language Strategies in Learning STEM

  • Bilingual Classroom Instructions on STEM Teaching and Learning in Tanzania
  • Students’ English Writing and Reading Skills Development in STEM Teaching and Learning

This supports the conclusion of Puja (2003) about the use of bilingualism in teaching and learning. Essentially, the language of instruction policy needs to be well articulated to support its effective implementation in STEM teaching and learning in Tanzania.

7 Conclusion

8 Recommendations

He is an Associate Member of the African Center of Excellence for Innovative Teaching and Learning in Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS). In addition, Nsengimana is an associate member of the African Center of Excellence for Innovative Teaching and Learning in Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS) based at UR-CE.

Individual Language Planning and Multilingual Education

The concept of individual language planning should be considered in terms of language planning scholarship. Zhao and Baldauf (2012) emphasize the importance of individual agency in terms of language planning activities.

Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

In addition, on a practical level when creating groups for the sake of cooperative learning, students should ideally be given the opportunity to form groups themselves. For example, Lubbe (2020) found that respondents chose to form their own groups because of language. These principles can also be considered in any effort to facilitate individual language planning for SDL.

Multilingual Learning in Information Technology (IT)

García and Lin (2017) state that “[t]he challenge for schools in the twenty-first century is how to create flexible dynamic models of bilingual education where students' language practices are not simply used as 'scaffolding' as they learn in a second language, but as a transformative practice that puts power back on the lips of multilingual speakers rather than simply acquiescing to the power of education and governmental authorities" (p. 17). In this chapter, epistemic distance is interpreted in the same way as the way the term "epistemic" is conceptualized in terms of epistemological access (cf. Charamba, 2020).

3 Methodology 3.1 Research Design

  • Sampling
  • Data Collection
  • Research Ethics
  • Data Analysis
  • Main Findings
    • Questionnaires
    • Interviews
    • Observations

Some interesting views were presented by the experts in terms of language in the context of the IT classroom. In the next part, the analyzed data are discussed in terms of the research question.

4 Discussion

Towards individual language planning, teachers and learners should be encouraged to embrace multilingualism and use their knowledge of different languages ​​in the classroom to close the linguistic and epistemic gap. Therefore, teachers need to be made aware of the language needs of students, their parents and the community.

Fig. 1 Language and epistemic distances in IT classrooms
Fig. 1 Language and epistemic distances in IT classrooms

5 Conclusion

Invisible and Visible Language Planning: Ideological Factors in the Family Language Policy of Chinese Immigrant Families in Quebec. Language policy. Individual agency in language planning: Chinese script reform as a case study. Language Issues and Language Planning https://doi.org/.

Learning of Elementary Maths

To guide policy makers, we need an evidence base that considers the barriers and enablers to successful implementation that affect learning outcomes (Outhwaite et al., 2019). In application-based mathematics learning, influencing factors may include children's cognitive development, socioeconomic status, and language skills, particularly in the language of instruction (Strand & Hessel, 2018), as well as implementation practices at the teacher and classroom levels, including beliefs and values ​​of school leaders about the use of educational applications in their classrooms (Outhwaite et al., 2019).

2 Our Research

Educational apps are increasingly popular to support the learning of basic maths in young children, especially in the early years of primary school (Drinkwater, 2013; Pilli & Aksu,2013; Zhang et al.,2015; Roberts & Spencer-Smith,2019 ). When available in multiple languages, educational apps can provide a unique opportunity to teach math at home or in the child's preferred language, and as such can be used in multilingual contexts.

3 App Features and Content

The app also makes it possible to present the same math instruction and content in 52 different languages, so it has the potential to be a useful resource in multilingual classrooms.

4 Apps in a Bilingual Learning Context

5 App Curriculum and Implementation

6 South African Study

Are there isiZulu language issues in the app that you would like to bring to the fore? Third, some inconsistencies were identified between the isiZulu used in the application and the curriculum documents.

7 UK Study

There was no significant difference in the English proficiency of the EAL children who received app implementation Model 2 compared to app implementation Model 3 [t(10)=.93, p=.38]. Technical issues related to easily switching between different language versions of the math app.

8 Brazilian Study

The second half of the school day was devoted to language skills, including reading and writing, taught in Brazilian Portuguese. In addition, proficiency in the language of instruction was significantly associated with progress through the application (subjects passed), but not with learning gains as measured by EGMA.

9 Implications for Future Research

10 Implications for App-Developers

11 Implications for Practitioners

12 Implications for Education Policy

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the cognitive correlates of bilingualism. Review of Educational Research. 2015).English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Educational Attainment in England: An Analysis of the National Learner Database.

Students’ Strengths for Learning Mathematics and Science

Beyond this assumption, we make three recommendations for policy and practice to: (1) note students' strengths (Mason, 2002; Watson recognize practices related to mathematics or science disciplines1 (Rosebery et al., 1992; Warren et al. al., 2001) in student contributions, and (3) expand what counts as STEM practice. Only then, once these three recommendations are met, can policy and teaching build on these students' strengths.

2 Theoretical Framing

We make three recommendations to link student strengths to STEM practices through teachers' professional vision (Louie, 2018). Third, educators should expand what "counts" as math and science so that those strengths are valued as critical knowledge, expanding unnecessarily narrow views of STEM practices (Bang et al., 2012).

3 Mathematics Examples

Math Example 1: Noticing Students’ Strengths in Abstracting and Generalizing

Julian: Parallels...when they go, they go higher [goes two fingers parallel to each other first along the top and base of the rectangle and then continues along those lines] they never join. Julian was abstracting, describing an abstract property of parallel lines (one cannot see where the lines do not "join").

Math Example 2: Recognizing Mathematical Practices When Comparing Lines

English text in the problem, but also reading, interpreting and understanding the meaning of the equation and the lines on the graph. She used two phrases typical of academic mathematical discourse: "Let's say" and the construct "If__, then__." Marcela used her everyday experiences and the metaphor that the axis of emphasis is the ground (“Porque fíjate, digamos que este es el suelo” [Because look, let's say this is the ground]).

Fig. 2 Lines drawn by students
Fig. 2 Lines drawn by students

Math Example 3: Leveraging Student Strengths and Expanding Classroom Math Practices

The unit design drew on students' strengths and the teaching practices accepted that students brought such strengths. The success of this unit relied on students' everyday knowledge to make inferences from data.

4 Science Examples

Science Example 1: Noticing Cultural Practices

In contrast to the question and familiar-answer format of traditional Westernized classroom practices, the teacher of this classroom provided space for children to explore ideas using argumentation skills they developed in the practice of bay odyans (Hudicourt-Barnes, 2003). The student discussions include laughter and interjections, important elements in the practice of bay odyans.

Science Example 2: Recognizing Students’ Strengths in Systemic Thinking and Expanding Science Practices

This and deliberate facilitation of a classroom discussion enabled children to engage more fully in the scientific practices than if they followed westernized classroom dynamics (Hudicourt-Barnes, 2003). The strengths that children demonstrated in the classroom discussion of mold reflect the authentic science practices of scientists and these practices should be recognized in student discussions.

5 Discussion

Resources for Refining Concepts: Case Studies in the Domain of Linear Functions. The Journal for the Learning Sciences. Moschkovich is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The overall aim of this study is to explore what experiences multilingual students use and create when solving illustrated mathematical word problems and to discuss the implications for mathematics classrooms. This study more specifically addresses the question of what social, cultural and linguistic experiences multilingual students mobilize and create when they engage in the social practice of solving illustrated mathematical word problems in Swedish.

2 Mathematical Word Problems and Multilingual Students

Students from minority language/cultural groups and students from working class backgrounds often perform worse at solving word problems than their peers (Cooper & Dunne, 2000). Thus, performance in word tasks is partially related to students' knowledge, while the stratification of students into groups occurs according to their background.

3 Mathematical Word Problems and Illustrations

In other words, word problems in teaching materials contain elements of national culture and have effects on how students from certain groups engage with them. In short, multilingual learners mobilize their knowledge and experiences of the world outside school in solving word problems with their texts and illustrations.

4 Working with Illustrated Word Problems as Social Praxis

In this study, this element implies the interaction between the student and the illustrated word problem as well as statements about previously experienced interactions when working with illustrated word problems. In this study, the fourth element relates to unspoken rules regarding activity, language, and norms students reveal when working on illustrated math word problems.

Fig. 1 The four-fold structure of social praxis (Radford & Empey, 2007, p. 235)
Fig. 1 The four-fold structure of social praxis (Radford & Empey, 2007, p. 235)

5 Methodology

  • About the Participating Students
  • About the Tasks
  • About the Analysis
  • Forms of Social Relations
  • Forms of Production
  • Semiotic System of Cultural Signification
  • Cultural Knowledge

In problem 165 (see fig. 2) the illustration of the card has meaning; that is, it provides information critical to the word problem. Can a series be magazines?”, the three different words all referred to the same comics, thus confusing the students.

Fig. 2 This is the family Svensson from Ljungby in Småland. Last summer they went to Kolmården zoo (Undvall et al., 2011, p
Fig. 2 This is the family Svensson from Ljungby in Småland. Last summer they went to Kolmården zoo (Undvall et al., 2011, p

7 Discussion 7.1 The Social

The Cultural

Students' backgrounds play a key role and solving math word problems can sometimes be a test of who the students are. We believe that the unfamiliarity with the context shows how important it is to know students' previous experiences so that they can receive appropriate support in solving illustrated word problems.

The Linguistic


Fig. 1 Two different translation moves
Fig. 1 My visual impression of Mortimer and Scott’s (2003) categorisation of classroom talk along the two continuums (Adapted from Msimanga, 2013)
Fig. 1 Exemplar bilingual number patterns questions: Setswana and IsiZulu
Fig. 2 Examples of mixed language used in explanations


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In terms of language learning objectives, English can be described as a lingua franca, the language used by multilingual that reach the ideal standard of