Obstacles to Learning Definitions in Mathematics

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Two researchers (Rubenstein and Thompson below), have identified the following 11 categories of difficulties associated with learning the language of mathematics. Meanings are context dependent Reciprocal of a number vs reciprocal agreement Foot as in 12 inches vs. the foot of the bed Teachers must address the confusion directly by discussing the stipulative definitions important

Learning Stipulative Definitions in Mathematics is Difficult

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Effective communication in mathematics is a non-trivial but essential skill. Communication in mathematics involves: Mathematical understanding. Vocabulary knowledge base. Fluency and proficiency with; numbers, symbols, words, and diagrams; Comprehension skills. Difficulties students face when learning the language of mathematics are complex and can negatively impact their entire mathematics development.  A teacher’s intervention is required to