Article 14: Multilingualism in Mathematics Classrooms: Global Perspectives

14 Multilingualism in Mathematics Classrooms: Global Perspectives
Richard Barwell (2009) Multilingual Matters


This is a buy from Amazon which is worth it. It came recommended from a colleague, and now having read it I can see why.
It's a very important book in many ways. Not least because of the rich collection of stories about language and maths from a variety of classroom contexts, so real stories about real practice in dealing with the language of maths. It also places language support at centre stage in teaching maths to learners of additional languages in the maths class.

Highly recommended read!

A clear, informative and erudite collection of articles from a number of diverse maths learning contexts placing the role of language in the maths classroom at the centre of the discussion.
Barwell identifies three 'tensions' in the multilingual maths classroom:
1) between maths and language
2) between formal and informal maths
3) between home languages and language of school and schooling
... and says that attention, thought and planning need to be given to all of these tensions.
Chapter 2 - Mapping the maths landscape was of particular interest to me as an amateur geek when it comes to language of the curriculum. I read with interest the data collection and analysis of the language of maths Monaghan reports. Would like to get my hands on this rich maths corpora.
Chapter 5 - Mathematical word problems and bilingual learners in England.
Getting students to write their own word problems helps them with understanding and dealing with word problems they meet in maths. Simple but true.
Chapter 6 - How language and graphs support conversation in a bilingual mathematics classroom.
Reminds me of the 'semi-script' from Geddes. Using diagrams (or diagrammatical representations of content) of any kind is a great for supporting and guiding learners in producing content language.
Chapter 9 - Bilingual Latino students, writing and mathematics
A case study in the US which describes creating a culture of communication in the maths classroom which brings below average (bilingual) achievers above average in a short space of time.
I know I'll carry this book around with me, to read again, and again. It will then sit on the shelf nearest my desk so I can easily access it when needed in the future.