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Socializing pre-service teachers into mathematical discourse: the interplay between biliteracy and multimodality

Abstract

This is a study of the development of mathematical discourse among biliterate pre-service teachers. Mathematical discourse is a multimodal discourse, in which mathematical meaning is constructed through multiple semiotic systems. Furthermore, in the continua of biliteracy framework, being able to construct meaning while drawing on multiple points of the continua promotes biliterate development. However, the ways in which biliterate pre-service teachers draw on both multimodality and biliteracy to develop mathematical discourse is a rarely researched topic. In this case study, data were gathered from participant-observation of a college mathematics class for pre-service teachers, participant interviews and small group study sessions at a public university on the U.S./Mexico border. A major component of the class was communicating mathematics meaningfully. Participant structures in which writing mediated communication were identified. In the classroom, students communicated with a variety of audiences in English, and through their participation students became socialized into mathematical discourse. However, it was in study sessions outside the classroom where students were able to draw on their biliteracy and multimodal resources more fully. In study sessions, participants used multimodality and biliteracy to engage with one another while at the same time forging an incipient identity as bilingual/biliterate teachers. Implications for teaching bilingual/biliterate college students are offered.