for the learning of mathematics

Marie Therese Farrugia - Vol. 29 Num. 1 (2009)
 Registers for mathematics classrooms in Malta: considering the options


Classroom mathematics in Malta is generally communicated through code-switching between the national language Maltese and the country's second language English. This is because not all mathematical words have Maltese equivalents and furthermore, mathematics textbooks are UK publications. I consider the language used for spoken communication and the language used in written mathematical texts as 'registers', and I reflect on three possibilities for register use in Maltese classrooms. The first option is to use English for both spoken and written modes, as suggested by our National Minimum Curriculum; the second is to use Maltese for both; the third is to use code-switching for verbal interaction, alongside English for written texts. For each option, I reflect on the apparent benefits and possible issues arising. One recurrent theme is the need for careful consideration of the use of mathematical verbs.


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