Language Challenges and Strategies for English Language Learners in Statistics Education: An Overview of Research in This Field

Education Quarterly Reviews

ISSN 2621-5799

Published: 20 September 2019

Language Challenges and Strategies for English Language Learners in Statistics Education: An Overview of Research in This Field

Sashi Sharma

University of Waikato, New Zealand

pdf download

Download Full-Text Pdf

10.31014/aior.1993.02.03.96

Pages: 651-665

Keywords: English Language Learners, Statistical Language, School Students, Multilingual Settings, Language Barriers, Strategies, Implications

Abstract

Despite the rapidly growing population of English Language Learners in schools, very little research has focused on understanding the challenges of English Language Learners in statistics education. This paper reviews research by statistics and mathematics educators to highlight some of the broad challenges faced by English Language Learners in statistics learning and teaching. The linguistic challenges include the vocabulary in academic statistics and linguistic features that may make statistical texts hard to understand and communicate. Next, the review outlines pedagogical strategies to help learners in statistics classrooms. The final section considers some issues arising out of the review and offers suggestions for practice and research.

References

  1. Adler, J. (1998). A language of teaching dilemmas: Unlocking the complex multilingual secondary mathematics classroom. For the Learning of Mathematics, 18(1), 24-33.
  2. Bay-Williams, J. & Herrera, S. (2007). Is “just good teaching” enough to support the learning of english language learners? Insights from sociocultural. Learning theory. In W. G. Martin, M. E, Strutchens, & P.C. Elliott (Eds.), The learning of mathematics. Sixty-ninth Yearbook (pp. 43 - 63). Reston, VA: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  3. Benjamin, A. (2011). Math in plain English: Literacy strategies for the mathematics classroom. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education Inc.
  4. Bose, A., & Choudhury, M. (2010). Language negotiation in a multilingual mathematics classroom: An analysis. In L. Sparrow, B. Kissane & C. Hurst (Eds.), Shaping the future of mathematics education (pp.93-100). Perth, Australia: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.
  5. Barwell, R. (2018). Writing in mathematic classrooms. In A. Bailey, C. Maher, & L.
  6. C. Wilkinson (Eds.). Language, literacy, and learning in the STEM disciplines: Language counts for English learners (pp. 101–114). New York, NY & Oxford, UK: Routledge Taylor Francis.
  7. Brown, L. C., Cady, J., & Taylor, P. (2009). Problem solving and the English language learner. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 14(9), 532-539.
  8. Brown, B. (2004). Fifty-Five feathers, Auckland. Reed.
  9. Clarkson, P. C. (2007). Australian Vietnamese students learning mathematics: High Ability bilinguals and their use of their languages. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 64, 195-215.
  10. Cook, S. W, & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2006). The role of gesture in learning: Do children use their hand to change their minds? Journal of Cognition an Development, 7(2), 211–232
  11. Gal, I. (2002). Adults’ statistical literacy: Meanings, components, responsibilities International Statistical Review, 70(1),1
  12. Gibbons, P. (2009). English Learners, academic literacy, and thinking: Learning in the challenge zone. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  13. Goldenberg, C. (2008). Teaching English language learners: What the research does–and does not–say. American Educator, 33(2), 8–19, 22–23, 42–44.
  14. Groth, R.E., Butler, J. & Nelson, D. (2016). Overcoming challenges in learning probability vocabulary. Teaching Statistics,38(3), 102-107.
  15. Gulzar, M. A, Farooq, M.U. & Umer, M. (2013). Inter-sentential patterns of code-switching: A gender-based investigation of male and female EFL teachers. International Education Studies, 6 (11), 144-159
  16. Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as semiotic. Baltimore, MD: University Park Press.
  17. Hoffert, S. B. (2009). Mathematics: The universal language?. A teacher enumerates the challenges, strategies, and rewards of teaching mathematics to English language learners. Mathematics Teacher, 4(2), 130-139.
  18. Kaplan, J. J., Rogness, N. T., & Fisher, D.(2014). Exploiting lexical ambiguity to help students understand the meaning of random. Statistics Education Research Journal, 13(1), 9–24.
  19. Kaplan, J. J., Fisher, D.& Rogness, N. (2009). Lexical ambiguity in statistics: What do students know about the words: Association, average, confidence, random and spread? Journal of Statistics Education. Retrieved from http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v17n3/kaplan.html
  20. Kazima, M. (2006). Malawian students meaning for probability vocabulary. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 64, 169-189.
  21. Kester -Phillips, D. C., Bardsley, M., Bach, T., & Gibb-Brown, K. (2009). “But I teach Math!”: The journey of middle school mathematics teachers and literacy coaches learninintegrate literacy strategies into the math instruction. Education, 129(3), 467-472.
  22. Lesser, L. M. Wagler, A. E. Salazar, B. (2016). Flipping between languages? An exploratory analysis of the usage by Spanish-speaking English language learner tertiary students of a bilingual probability applet. Statistics Education Research Journal, 15(2), 145-168.
  23. Lesser, L. & Winsor, M. (2009). English language learners in introductory statistics:
  24. Lessons learned from an exploratory case study of two-pre service teachers. Statistics Education Research Journal, 8(2), 5-32.
  25. Marin, K. A. (2018). Routinizing mathematics vocabulary: The vocab grid. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 23(7), 395-398.
  26. Makgato, M. (2014). The use of English and code switching in the teaching and learning of technology in some schools in eastern cape province, South Africa. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences,5(23), 933-940.
  27. Mandy, C. & Garbati, J. (2014). Calling upon other language skills to enhance
  28. second language learning: Talking taboo about first languages in a second
  29. language classroom. Research Monogram, 51, 1-4.
  30. Meaney, T. (2006). Acquiring the mathematics register in classrooms. SET: Research Information for Teachers, 3, 39-43. New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Wellington.
  31. Ministry of Education. (2008). ELLP introduction. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media. Retrieved from http://esolonline.tki.org.nz/ESOL-Online/Student-needs/English-Language-Learning-Progressions
  32. Moschkovich, J. (2015). Academic literacy in mathematics for English learners. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 40, 43–62.
  33. Moschkovich, J. (2005). Using two languages when learning mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 64, 121-144.
  34. Moschkovich, J. (2002). A situated and sociocultural perspective on bilingual mathematics learners. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 4(2&3), 189-212.
  35. Neill, A. (2012). Developing statistical numeracy in primary schools. SET: Research Information for Teachers, Set 1, 9-16, Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.  ISSN (print): 0110-6376  ISSN (online): 2253-2145
  36. Padula, J., Lam, S., Schmidtke, M. (2001). Syntax and word order: Important aspects of mathematical English. The Australian Mathematics Teacher, 57(4), 31-35.
  37. Parke, C. S. (2008). Reasoning and communicating in the language of statistics. Journal of Statistics Education, 10(3), 1–24.
  38. Pfannkuch, M. (2011). The role of context in developing informal statistical inferential reasoning: A classroom study. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 13(1/2), 27–46.
  39. Planas, N., & Setati-Phakeng, M. (2014). On the process of gaining language as resource in mathematics education. ZDM Mathematics Education, 46, 883–893.
  40. Planas, N., & Civil, M. (2013). Language-as-resource and language-as-political: tensions in the bilingual mathematics classroom. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 25, 361-378. doi:10.1007/s13394-013-0075-6
  41. Perger, P. (2010). All that maths from a kids’ book?: Mathematical opportunities in
  42. Children’s literature. In R. Averill and R. Harvey (Eds.), Teaching primary school mathematics and statistics: Evidence-based practice (pp. 261-273). Wellington, NZ: NZCER Press.
  43. Rangecroft, M. (2002). The language of statistics. Teaching Statistics, 24(2), 34.
  44. Takeuchi, M. (2016). Friendships and group work in linguistically diverse mathematics classrooms: Opportunities to learn for English language learners. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(3), 411-437.
  45. Schleppegrell, M. (2007). The linguistic challenges of mathematics teaching and learning: A research review. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 23(2), 139–159.
  46. Setati, M., Adler, J., Reed, Y., & Bapoo, A. (2002). Incomplete journeys: Code-switching and other language practices in mathematics, science and English language classrooms in South Africa. Language and Education, 16(2), 128-149.
  47. Sharma, S. (2014). Influence of culture on high school students’ understanding of statistics: A Fijian Statistics Education Research Journal. 13(2) Retrieved from http://iase-web.org/Publications.php?p=SERJ_issues.
  48. Sharma, S., Doyle, P., Shandil, V., & Talakia'atu, S. (2011). Developing statistical literacy with Year 9 students. Set: Research Information for Educational Research, 1, 43–60.
  49. Waller, P. P., & Flood, C. T. (2016). Mathematics as a universal language: Transcending cultural lines. Journal of Multicultural Education, 10(3), 294-306.
  50. Watson, J. M. (2006). Statistical literacy at school: Growth and goals Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  51. Winsor, M. S. (2007). Bridging the language barrier in mathematics. Mathematics Teacher, 101, 372-378

About Us

The Asian Institute of Research is an online and open-access platform to publish recent research and articles of scholars worldwide. Founded in 2018 and based in Indonesia, the Institute serves as a platform for academics, educators, scholars, and students from Asia and around the world, to connect with one another. The Institute disseminates research that is proven or predicted to be of significant influence for the general public.

Contact Us

Please send all inquiries to the email:

editorial@asianinstituteofresearch.org

Business Address:

5th Floor, Kavling 507, Fajar Graha Pena Tower, Jl. Urip Sumohardjo No.20, Makassar, Indonesia 90234

Copyright © 2018 The Asian Institute of Research. All rights reserved

Stay Connected

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle