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Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 325–353 | Cite as

Bilingualism and mathematical reasoning in English as a second language

  • Lloyd Dawe
Article

Abstract

This paper examines the ability of bilingual children to reason deductively in mathematics. In particular, the findings of a recent study of bilingual Punjabi, Mirpuri, Italian and Jamaican 11–13 year old children growing up in England are reported. It is found that first language competence is an important factor in the child's ability to reason in mathematics in English as a second language. This gives considerable support to theories which assert that a cognitively and academically beneficial form of bilingualism can only be achieved on the basis of adequately developed first language skills. However for both English monolingual and bilingual children knowledge of logical connectives in English is a crucial factor. It is suggested that published weaknesses in mathematics found among certain Asian and West Indian pupils may well be due to language factors. Furthermore there are strong cultural forces which predispose differential performance among boys and girls. The implications of the findings for a relevant mathematical education for bilingual children are discussed.

Keywords

Differential Performance Mathematical Education Language Skill Mathematical Reasoning Logical Connective 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd Dawe

There are no affiliations available

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