Improving Mathematics Vocabulary Learning in the Foundation Phase

Abstract

Mathematics is more than numbers. Students should be able to understand and use academic vocabulary to think about and discuss mathematical situations. However, vocabulary learning within the mathematical contexts could be very complex and challenging to students, especially for English Learners. The purpose of this study aims to present a review and synthesize literature regarding the vocabulary learning challenges of mathematics in the foundation phase. Peer-reviewed articles (N=42) are gained from Google Scholar via systematically searching key words “mathematics vocabulary” with one or more of the following terms: challenge, difficulty, error, discourse, and analysis. Lee’s (2005) study is applied as the theoretical framework. It formulated four main features of vocabulary in the mathematics contexts: same meaning words (same meanings in ordinary English and mathematics, such as discount, and total), math-specific words (technical math words, such as coefficient and linear equation), multiple-meaning words in ordinary English and mathematics (such as even and function), and multiple-meaning words within mathematics (such as base and square). This study shows a variety of challenges in mathematics vocabulary learning. Also, the study provides suggestions in learning practice and instructional strategies in order to help teachers support students to improve mathematics vocabulary learning in the foundation phase.



Author Information
Xiaotian Han, Shanghai Normal University Tianhua College, China

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2020
Stream: Primary & Secondary Education

This paper is part of the SEACE2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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