Using Correct Mathematical Language
How often have you found yourself, in your classroom, subconsciously mimicking your pupils’ use of language? ‘Top/bottom number’ instead of ‘numerator/denominator’, ‘corner’ when you mean ‘vertex’, ‘line’ for what is mathematically a ‘line segment’; there must be many other examples.
But does it matter? Should we insist on correct use of formal mathematical language?
Jemma Sherwood, Head of Maths at Haybridge High School, Stourbridge, thinks it does matter, and she's explained why in a recent blog, The Importance of Vocabulary.
Please let us know if you have views for or against Jemma’s thesis. And let us know if you have any recommendations of other maths bloggers whose views deserve a wider audience.
The ideas in Jemma's blog overlap slightly with the theme of a two-minute video that we recently published, encouraging pupils to use full sentences when answering questions in the classroom. This is the first of our Mastery Moments, a new series of video shorts attempting to capture the essence of a single feature of teaching for mastery. Although the footage is primary, we think the ideas are applicable in secondary classrooms too.
Our weekly #mathscpdchat discussion on Twitter will be focusing on pupils' use of mathematical language on 21 February - log on and join in 7-8pm. For more information see https://www.ncetm.org.uk/mathscpdchat.