Review Article

Acquiring mathematics as a second language: A theoretical model to illustrate similarities in the acquisition of English as a second language and mathematics

Maureen Ledibane, Kotie Kaiser, Marthie van der Walt
Pythagoras | Vol 39, No 1 | a347 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v39i1.347 | © 2018 Maureen Ledibane, Kotie Kaiser, Marthie van der Walt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 August 2016 | Published: 29 October 2018

About the author(s)

Maureen Ledibane, Department of English, North-West University, South Africa
Kotie Kaiser, Department of English Education, North-West University, South Africa
Marthie van der Walt, Department of Mathematics Education, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Mathematics has been defined by researchers as a ‘second or third language’ and, as a result, it should be taught as a second language. Results of the literature reviewed from the theories on the teaching of mathematics and English as a second language, as well as on mathematics learning and English as a second language acquisition, have resulted in the emergence of four themes, which are similar to the ones on the teaching and learning of both mathematics and English as a second language; these are: comprehensible input, language processing and interaction, output, and feedback. In this article, the themes are illustrated in a theoretical model and discussed to show how English as a second language and mathematics can be acquired simultaneously. (English as a second language in the South African context is referred to as English as a first additional language.)

Keywords

Mathematical discourse; English as a second language (ESL) acquisition; comprehensible input; language processing and interaction; output; feedback

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