n Learning and Teaching Mathematics - Exploring language issues in multilingual classrooms

Volume 2012, Issue 13
  • ISSN : 1990-6811


Multilingualism is rapidly becoming a serious challenge for many schools in South Africa, perhaps most noticeably in the Gauteng province. Not only do many schools have learners with a variety of South African indigenous languages as their home language, but numerous schools also have learners from other African countries. As a result of this language complexity many schools have opted for English as the language of teaching and learning despite that fact that many teachers and learners are not fluent in English. As such, the teaching context in such schools is highly complex, and is heavily affected by multilingualism. During the course of learning Mathematics numerous language issues emerge which raise a number of critical questions. How does the fact that teachers teach mathematics in a language that is not necessarily the learners' home language affect the teaching and learning of mathematics? What impact does the teacher's home language have on the promotion of learners' conceptual understanding in the Mathematics classroom?

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