Language practices involving two languages among trilingual undergraduate students of Mathematics
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This paper presents language practices of some trilingual undergraduate students of mathematics as they engaged with a mathematics task. The paper draws from a larger study that was recently completed. The aim in this paper is to explore whether, how and why the trilingual students use languages in their repertoire to make sense of an algebra task. The two languages in focus are the home languages of the students and the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT), English. Research shows that there is a research gap on language practices in trilingual contexts. The study adapted a qualitative inquiry process. It was conducted in one public university with a focus on first year students undertaking mathematics in their programs. Data was collected using questionnaires, clinical and reflective interviews. Analysis followed Discourse analysis (Gee, 2005) with a focus on mathematical Discourses. Findings show that the students engaged with competent mathematical Dis- courses. Furthermore they used their home languages as resources in their repertoire to interpret and understand the task. There were multiple purposes for code switching be- tween the two languages in their solitary engagement. The findings are important to inform Language in Education Policy (LiEP) in Kenya how and why some undergraduate students of mathematics position the home languages when they engage with mathematics. In the global perspective, the findings contribute to the field of mathematics education in trilingual contexts.
- SIMC 2015