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Language of mathematics matters in proper understanding and communication of mathematics: study
"Language of mathematics teachers continues to be poor since teaching of mathematics by rule method and parroting have become the institutional habits of teacher development leading to poor conceptual comprehension of mathematics among students which needs to be corrected by promoting lesson studies and action researches in mathematics teaching. And, language of mathematics and communication in classroom play central role in conceptual understanding of mathematics," stated the Jaipur based researcher Dr. Lalit Kishore whose paper has been accepted for an upcoming conference on mathematics education at the NCERT in New Delhi.

The paper "Understanding Place Value Plurals as a Part of Language of Mathematics: Designing and Undertaking a Lesson Study at Grade Five" submitted from 'Disha – A Resource Centre for Multiple Disabilities', Jaipur, will be presented at the 7th National Conference on Mathematics Education to be held from 20th to 22nd December at Department of Education in Science and Mathematics of National Council of Educational Research and Training.

According to the researcher, a lesson study was undertaken on place value plurals to be able to read the big numbers properly.   Since number-names work as nouns in mathematics and commas and full stops have special pause intervals, the language of mathematics counts a lot for place value reading and writing.  The objectives of the study were: (1) To design a triangulated research lesson and rehearse it; (2) To transact a 40-minute lesson in Class V  in the presence of two observers; (3) To finalize the lesson plan after studying students' reactions and observers feedback for future use.

It was found that the student's reactions to the lesson were significantly positive when analyzed with Chi-square test. A common comment of students was that 'with lesson clarifying the topic with proper use of language through 4 task-sheets; we could read the big numbers in terms of their place value'.

"The outcome of the study was a good lesson plan for use henceforth. Being a lesson study as a technique of action research, it led the improved practice of the math teacher. The implication of the study is that at the teacher education and development level, special training programmes for math teachers should be organized on language of math and mathematisation of language," states the abstract of the paper.

The organisers of the conference inform that the objective of mathematics in schools is to nurture the thinking skills among children in which mathematics teachers have a greater role to play by mathematising their language to make it relevant for proper classroom transaction and use in information and communication technologies, the language of which is mathematics.

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