How students benefit from the activation of their home language in mathematics
Alexander Schüler - Meyer, Technical University Eindhoven
Today, more and more students are multilingual, so that students learn mathematics in a language which is not their home language. While this can be an obstacle for learning, research suggests that multilinguality can indeed be a resource for mathematics learning. Building on these positive findings, the project MuM-Multi aimed to investigate the question how and if students can benefit from systematically integrating their home language Turkish with the language of instruction (German) during content learning. This question was explored in a mixed-methods design for a German/Turkish bilingual intervention aimed at fostering conceptual understanding of fractions (five sessions of 90 minutes each). A qualitative analysis of learning processes revealed moments where the integration of Turkish and German proved beneficial for mathematics learning. The quantitative analysis of the efficacy of the intervention showed benefits of activating Turkish as language of learning for students’ conceptual understanding of fractions. While not directly transferable to the Dutch context, some findings might suggest new areas of investigation of multilingual mathematics learning in the Netherlands.
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