Share Cognitive Science Implications for Teaching Mathematics

Effective communication in mathematics is a non-trivial but essential
skill. Communication in mathematics involves:

- Mathematical understanding.
- Vocabulary knowledge base.
- Fluency and proficiency with;
- 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 help
students overcome the stumbling block which is vocabulary.

A first step
in helping students to learn and use the language of mathematics is for
teachers to realize that vocabulary instruction is essential.

A second step
is for teachers to understand the many difficulties that vocabulary presents to
students.

A third step
is for teachers to become familiar with methods of teaching vocabulary.

A fourth step
is for teachers to implement effective methods to teach vocabulary in
mathematics.

Teaching essential vocabulary in mathematics class should
result in at least the following

- Storage
of word meanings in long-term memory.
- Ability
to recall word meanings from long-term memory
- Promote
understanding of definitions.
- Become
fluent in the language of mathematics
- Maintain
the word meaning over time.
- Ability to easily and accurately use the
language of mathematics to explain and justify mathematical concepts and
relationships.

Without the instructor first teaching basic understanding
and facilitating fluency with vocabulary words, the purposeful and effective
use of the language of mathematics will likely not occur.

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