Advertisement

Australian Vietnamese Students Learning Mathematics: High Ability Bilinguals and Their Use of Their Languages

  • Philip C. Clarkson
Article

Abstract

Bilingual students have, at times, been thought to be at a disadvantage in learning mathematics because of an assumed interference between their two languages. Earlier research, confirmed again in this study, shows that this is a naive view to take. Although some bilingual students do have a harder time, others seem to be at an advantage. This study explores the use that bilingual students who are succeeding in mathematics make of their two languages. These students seem to have better metalinguistics skills that allow them to self-correct when solving problems, and are perhaps more confident in their approach to solving difficult problems. It also appears that students in this study switched between languages in early years of schooling, but only used English by the time they were completing elementary school.

Key wordS

bilinguals immigrant students language switching mathematics and language novel problems Vietnamese students 

References

  1. Adler, J.: 1995, ‘Dilemmas and a paradox-secondary mathematics teachers’ knowledge of their teaching in multilingual classrooms’, Teaching and Teacher Education 11(3), 263–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Australian Council for Educational Research: 1978, Mathematics Profile Series; Operations Test, Australian Council for Educational Research, Hawthorn.Google Scholar
  3. Australian Council for Educational Research: 1988, Progressive Achievement Tests in Mathematics; 1A and 1B, Australian Council for Educational Research, Hawthorn.Google Scholar
  4. Baker, C.: 1996, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, UK.Google Scholar
  5. Barton, B., Fairhall, U. and Trinick, T.: 1998, ‘Tikanga reo tatai: Issues in the development of a Maori mathematics register’, For the Learning of Mathematics 18(1), 3–9.Google Scholar
  6. Barwell, R.: 2003, ‘Patterns of attention in the interaction of a primary school mathematics student with English as an additional language’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 53, 35–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bialystok, E.: 1987, ‘Words as things: Development of word concept by bilingual children’, Studies in Second Language Learning 9, 133–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarkson, P.C.: 1991, ‘Language comprehension errors: A further investigation’, Mathematics Education Research Journal 3(2), 24–33.Google Scholar
  9. Clarkson, P.C.: 1992, ‘Language and mathematics: A comparison of bilingual and monolingual students of mathematics’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 23(4), 417–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clarkson, P.C.: 1996, ‘NESB migrant students studying Mathematics: Vietnamese and Italian students in Melbourne’, in L. Puig and A. Gutierrez (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference Vol.2, International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Valencia, Spain, pp. 225–232.Google Scholar
  11. Clarkson, P.C.: 1997, ‘NESB migrant students studying Mathematics: Vietnamese students in Melbourne and Sydney’, in E. Pehkonen (ed.), Proceedings of the 21th Annual Conference Vol.2, International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Lahte, Finland, pp. 153–160.Google Scholar
  12. Clarkson, P.C.: 2002, ‘Bilingual students learning mathematics in Australia: A review’, in H. Dhindsa, I. Cheong, C. Tendencia and M.A. Clements (eds.), Realities in Science, Mathematics and Technical Education, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei, pp. 266–275.Google Scholar
  13. Clarkson, P.C. and Galbraith, P.: 1992, ‘Bilingualism and mathematics learning: Another perspective’, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 23(1), 34–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cohen, A.D.: 1994, ‘The language used to perform cognitive operations during full immersion math tasks’, Language Testing 11(2), 171–195.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, A.D.: 1995, ‘In which language do/should multilinguals think?’ Language, Culture and Curriculum 8(2), 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cornish, G. and Wines, R.: 1977, ACER Mathematics Profile Series, Operations Test, The Australian Council for Educational Research, Hawthorn, Victoria.Google Scholar
  17. Cummins, J.: 1979, ‘Linguistic interdependence and the educational development of bilingual children’, Review of Educational Research 49(2), 222–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cummins, J.: 1984, Bilingualism and Special Education, Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, UK.Google Scholar
  19. Cummins, J.: 1991, ‘Interdependence of first- and second-language proficiency in bilingual children’, in E. Bialystok (ed.), Language Processing in Bilingual Children, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 70–89.Google Scholar
  20. Cummins, J. and Swain, M.: 1986, Bilingualism in Education, Longman, London.Google Scholar
  21. Dawe, L.: 1983, ‘Bilingualism and mathematical reasoning in English as a second language’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 14, 325–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Durkin, K. and Shire, B. (eds.): 1991, Language in Mathematical Education: Research and Practice, Open University Press, Milton Keynes, UK.Google Scholar
  23. Ellerton, N. and Clarkson, P.C.: 1996, ‘Language factors in mathematics teaching and learning’, in A. Bishop, K. Clements, C. Keitel, J. Kilpatrick and C. Laborde (eds.), International Handbook of Mathematics Education, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 991–1038.Google Scholar
  24. Ellerton, N., Clements, M.A. and Clarkson, P.C.: 2000, ‘Language factors in mathematics education’, in K. Owens and J. Mousley (eds.), Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 1996–1999, Mathematics Education Research Groups of Australasia, Sydney, pp. 29–96.Google Scholar
  25. Goos, M. and Galbraith, P.: 1996, ‘Do it this way! Metacognitive strategies in collaborative mathematical problem solving’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 30, 229–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gorgorio, N. and Planas, N.: 2001, ‘Teaching mathematics in multilingual classrooms’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 47, 7–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kern, R.G.: 1994, ‘The role of mental translation in L2 reading’, Studies in Second Language Acquisition 16(4), 441–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lambert, W.: 1977, ‘The effects of bilingualism on the individual: Cognitive and sociocultural consequences’, in P. Hornby (ed.), Bilingualism, Academic Press, New York, pp. 15–27.Google Scholar
  29. Lambert, W.E.: 1990, ‘Persistent issues in bilingualism’, in B. Harley, P. Allen, J. Cummins and M. Swain (eds.), The Development of Second Language Proficiency, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  30. Malakoff, M.E.: 1992, ‘Translation ability: A natural bilingual and metalinguistic skill’, in R.J. Harris (ed.), Cognitive Processing in Bilinguals, Amsterdam, North-Holland, pp. 515–529.Google Scholar
  31. Mossenson, L., Hill, P. and Masters, G.: 1987, Tests of Reading Comprehension, Australian Council of Educational Research, Hawthorn, Victoria.Google Scholar
  32. Newman, A.: 1983, The Newman Language of Mathematics Kit, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Sydney.Google Scholar
  33. Peal, E. and Lambert, W.: 1962, ‘The relation of bilingualism to intelligence’, Psychological Monographs 76, 1–23.Google Scholar
  34. Roberts, T.: 1998, ‘Mathematical registers in Aboriginal languages’, For the Learning of Mathematics 18(1), 10–16.Google Scholar
  35. Schoenfeld, A.: 1987, ‘What’s all the fuss about metacognition?’, in A.H. Schoenfeld (ed.), Cognitive Science and Mathematics Education, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 189–215.Google Scholar
  36. Schoenfeld, A.: 1992, ‘Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense making in mathematics’, in D. Grouws (ed.), Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning, Macmillan, NY., pp. 334–370.Google Scholar
  37. Secada, W.G.: 1992, ‘Race, ethnicity, social class, language, and achievement in mathematics’, in D. Grouws (ed.), Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning, Macmillan, NY., pp. 623–660.Google Scholar
  38. Setati, M. and Adler, J.: 2000, ‘Between languages and discourses: Language practices in primary multilingual mathematics classrooms in South Africa’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 43, 243–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. and Toukomaa, P.: 1976, Teaching Migrant Children’s Mother Tongue and Learning the Language of the Host Country in the Context of the Socio-Cultural Situation of the Migrant Family, The Finnish National Commission for UNESCO, Helsinki.Google Scholar
  40. Sullivan, P. and Clarke, D.: 1992, ‘Problem solving with conventional mathematics content: Responses of pupils to open mathematical tasks’, Mathematics Educational Research Journal 4(1), 42–60.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationAustralian Catholic UniversityFitzroyAustralia

Personalised recommendations