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Medium and message : the use and development of an English mathematics register in two Maltese primary classrooms

Farrugia, Marie Therese (2007)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The National Minimum Curriculum (NMC) of Malta recommends the use of the country’s second language, English, for the teaching of mathematics. The aim of my study was to enhance the local medium-of-instruction debate by focusing on the use and development of a mathematics register, and distinguishing between issues relevant to second-language classrooms and ones more generally applicable Assuming a social perspective of learning, I used a grounded methodology, thus generally allowing my reflections to develop out of the data I collected. The research design consisted of lesson observations in two primary classrooms and interviews with the teachers and pupils. I concluded that the use of English in class created tensions with other NMC principles; I also noted variations in the way some mathematical words were used when compared to what I might expect as part of an English mathematics register. On the other hand, the frequency of pupils’ use of mathematical vocabulary during lessons seemed to depend on the teacher’s pedagogic approach. Also applicable to general mathematics classrooms appeared to be three conditions I identified as important for word meanings to be effectively shared with pupils: frequency of use, clarity, and significance, that is, how crucial a word appeared to be when used.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hewitt, Dave
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Education
Keywords:Mathematics education, mathematical language, mathematics register
Subjects:LB1501 Primary Education
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:126
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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