Understanding the Mathematics using English

For language-minority students, mathematics classrooms based on inquiry and problem solving hold particular promise and challenge. Conversation permeates both scientific research and the solution of mathematical puzzles. This talk takes the form of asking, describing, explaining, hypothesizing, disputing, clarifying, elaborating, and validating findings.

Although there are considerable language requirements, there is a good chance that pupils will master both scientific and math concepts and crucial English language phrases.

Mathematics has long been considered a subject with little linguistic need. Language actually helps mathematical reasoning, thus mathematics and language are closely related. Students today need to be proficient in applying at least the fundamentals of mathematics because of the focus on problem solving and communication in mathematics. The terminology and discourse structures used in mathematics are specialized. Additionally, words like equal, rational, irrational, column, and table that have different meaning in mathematics are included.

There are several methods to signal mathematical processes, which presents extra difficulties for pupils from linguistic minority backgrounds. For instance, the phrases add, plus, combine, and, total, enhanced by, can be used to denote addition. There are several mathematical symbols that are utilized differently in other nations than they are in the United States. For instance, commas can be used to divide whole integers and decimal parts (functioning as the decimal point does in this country). On the other hand, a decimal point may be used instead of the comma to distinguish hundreds from thousands, hundred thousands from millions, and so on.

Students who speak a language other than English may try to read and write mathematical phrases in the same manner that they read and write regular narrative prose. They could attempt to translate verbatim between a mathematical notion described in words and a mathematical concept written in symbols, in other words. But the order in which a mathematical notion is conveyed in words frequently differs from the order in which it is expressed in symbols. Most of the time, a linear, one-to-one translation is not feasible.

The collaborative aspect of scientific discourse is acknowledged in science as being a highly communicative field where language plays a key role. There is, however, a recognized style of “talking science.” Language norms may be seen in the ways that scientists argue or disagree, present hypotheses or express findings, and negotiate meaning by expanding, paraphrasing, or asking clarifying questions.Particularly younger students learning English as a second language can have trouble comprehending the relevance of logical inferences made in scientific and mathematical discourse.  Logical connectors are words or phrases that indicate a logical link between different parts of a text, such as the terms if, because, nevertheless, and therefore. Logical connectors are symbols used in mathematics and science to denote similarity or contradiction, cause and effect, cause and effect, reason and outcome, and chronological or logical succession. Restating a mathematical or scientific problem as a declarative phrase may help students who struggle with logical linkages to find an answer.

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