Language: A Cultural Capital for Conceptualizing Mathematics Knowledge
Nosisi Feza-Piyose
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Mathematics education in South Africa is in crisis. Students continue to perform at a lower level compared to other nations including those with low GPD compared to them. Two factors have been highlighted in research that impedes mathematics learning: teacher content knowledge and irrelevant teaching strategies. This study contributes to this literature by investigating five African (from a former White school) fifth grade students’ learning of length measurement with the aim of eliciting the students’ thinking levels by using a length learning trajectory. Clinical interviews and teaching experiments were employed for a comprehensive description of these students’ processes. The findings reveal that students’ mother tongue is a psychological tool that enriches their mathematics learning process, learning trajectory assisted in analysing students developmental processes with language and poor number development impeded abstraction in learning of length measurement concepts.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INT ELECT J MATH ED, 2012, Volume 7, Issue 2, 62-79

Publication date: 12 Dec 2012

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