Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2019, Page: 20-31
High School Students’ Language Related Struggles with Contextualized Differential Equations
Zakaria Ndemo, Department of Science and Mathematics Education, Faculty of Science Education, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe
Received: Jan. 10, 2019;       Accepted: Mar. 15, 2019;       Published: Apr. 18, 2019
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijamtp.20190501.13      View  262      Downloads  42
Abstract
Upon observing with concern that the majority of high school students experienced severe language related difficulties when solving contextualized differential equations, the researcher then decided to investigate the kinds of such challenges and their impact on students’ learning of differential equations. A sample of 10 mathematics students was selected from one urban high school in one province in Zimbabwe. Written tasks and follow up interviews were employed as data collection tools for the study. Content analysis technique was applied to the written responses and interview transcriptions to obtain a revealing picture of how the kinds of the language related challenges interfere with the growth of mathematical content. The study revealed that the students struggled with interpreting and formulating differential equations from given mathematical situations. Further, interpretation of given initial conditions posed a challenge to the learners. A major consequence of these language related challenges was that the students could not generate complete solutions and lack of interplay between conceptual and procedural fluency was one of the insights generated from this study with regards to the learning of differential equations. The study findings have important implications for instruction in high school mathematics lessons such as the need to develop and foster the students’ abilities to engage in adaptive reasoning and use multiple modes of presenting content in order to promote students’ understanding of contextualized differential equations.
Keywords
Differential Equations, Contextualized Mathematics. High School Mathematics, Language Barriers
To cite this article
Zakaria Ndemo, High School Students’ Language Related Struggles with Contextualized Differential Equations, International Journal of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Vol. 5, No. 1, 2019, pp. 20-31. doi: 10.11648/j.ijamtp.20190501.13
Copyright
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Reference
[1]
P. J. Riccomini, G. W. Smith, E. M. Hughes, K. M. Fries, The language of teaching and learning mathematical vocabulary, Reading and Writing Quarterly, 31(3) (2015), 235-252.
[2]
A. Lemke, (2003). Standardized achievement tests and English language learners, Psychometric issues and Educational Assessment, 8 (2003), 231-257.
[3]
Van Rinsveld, C. Schiltz, M. Brunner, K. Landerl and S. Ugen, Solving Arithmetic Problem in First and Second Language Context, Learning and Instruction, 42 (2016), 72-82.
[4]
M. K. Sarabi and K. Abdul Gafoor, Influence of Linguistic Challenges on Attitudes Towards Mathematics Learning among Upper Primary Students of Kerala, Proceedings of International Seminar on Priorities, Barriers and Directions to Education, 2015, 1-9.
[5]
D. Cummis, W. Kintsch, K. Reusser and R Weimer, The role of understanding and solving word problems, Cognitive Psychology, 20(200), 405-438.
[6]
M. Martiniello, Linguistic complexity, thematic representations, and differential item functioning for English language learners with maths tests, Educational Assessment, 14 (2009), 160-179.
[7]
K. Lesseig, Investigating mathematical knowledge for teaching proof in professional development, International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 2(2) (2016), 253-270.
[8]
D. Clarke and S. Helme, (1996). Context as construction, Proceedings of CIEAM 47, Berlin, (1996), 379-389.
[9]
Z. Ndemo and D. J. Mtetwa, Preferences of contexts for learning mathematics expressed by students in rural secondary school environments of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Journal of Research, 22(1) (2010), 1-15.
[10]
C. Lager, Types of mathematics-language reading interactions that unnecessarily hinder algebra learning and assessment, Reading Psychology, 27(2-3) (2006), 163-204.
[11]
J. Kilpatrick, J. Swafford and B. Findell, Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
[12]
G. Boulet, How does language impact the learning of mathematics? Let me count the ways, Journal of Teaching and Learning, 5(1) (2007), 1-12.
[13]
A. Selden and J. Selden, Validations of Proofs considered as texts: Can Undergraduates Tell an Argument Proves a Theorem? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 34 (2003), 4-36.
[14]
E. C. Mulwa, The Role of Language in Mathematics in Students’ Understanding of Number Concepts in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya, International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(3) (2014), 264-274.
[15]
J. Zwiers, The third language of academic English, Educational Leadership, 62(4) (2005), 60-63.
[16]
L. P. Hewitt-Bradshaw, Language issues in mathematics and science: An analysis of Caribbean reports on students’ performance in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations, Caribbean Curriculum, 19(2012), 43-66.
[17]
N. Fatmanissa and K. Kusnandi, The Linguistic Challenges of Mathematics Word Problems: A Research and Literature Review, Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, Special Issue on Graduate Students Research on Education, 73-92.
[18]
M. J. Gagnon and S. K. Abel, ELLS and Language of school science, Science and Children, 46(5) (2009), 50-51.
[19]
J. Huang, B. Normandia and S Greer, Communicating mathematically: Comparison of knowledge structures in teacher and student discourse in a secondary mathematics classroom, Communication Education, 54(1) (2005), 34-51.
[20]
B. Durrheiim, G. MacMillan and W. Schumacher, Designing Qualitative Research (4th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004.
[21]
Z. Dörnyei, Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative Qualitative, and Mixed Methodologies, Oxford University Press, 2007.
[22]
B. L. Berg, Qualitative research methods for the social sciences, London Pearson, 2007.
[23]
J. W. Cresswell, Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2014.
[24]
J. Corbin and A. Strauss,(2008). Basics of qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, Sage, 2008.
[25]
E. Cozby and A. Kuper, Critically appraising qualitative research. BMJ, 337 (a) (2009), 1035.
[26]
T. Lawson, Cambridge sociology: an interview with Tony Lawson, Erasmus Journal of Philosophy and Economics, 2(1) (2009), 100-122.
Browse journals by subject