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European Commission - Comenius

European Commission - Education and Culture

Project Details

MAking MAThEmatics TEAchers MObile

129543-CP-1-2006-1 -IT-COMENIUS-C21


Project span

Project Coordinator

CAFRE Centro di Ateneo di Formazione e Ricerca Educativa
Università di Pisa

Contact person


Project Partners

(AT) Universität Wien

(CZ) Univerzita Karlova v Praze

(DK) University College Lillebælt, Skårup Seminarium

(FR) Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres de l'Académie de Créteil

Teaching Maths in a Foreign Language
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Czech Data Analysis of the Questionnaire for Teachers

About you
  1. 101 teachers have answered: 63 teach in lower secondary school, 38 in upper secondary school.
  2. 78 teach only mathematics, 2 people teach English only. The other respondents combine teaching mathematics with one or two foreign languages.
  3. 42 respondents speak English; 31 Russian; 29 German; 6 French; 3 Slovak; 1 Italian; 1 Spanish. Most of the older respondents probably have some knowledge of Slovak and/or Russian but decided not to state it.
  4. The teachers found it difficult to assess their command of the foreign language because the Czech Republic has not fully introduced the standards based on the European Language Portfolio.
Professional experiences
  1. 24 people discussed subject specific terminology etc. with a foreign language teacher. Most of the teacher did not find it necessary because they have a dual teaching qualification: for mathematics and a foreign language.
  2. 19 teachers of mathematics stated that a language teacher asked them for help with mathematical terminology.
  3. 2 of the respondents stated that they had experiences with teaching immigrant students; most respondents had no personal experience with teaching in a foreign language (53), 3 admitted varied experiences. The rest of respondents did not provide any answer.
  4. 11 teachers qualified for mathematics only cooperated with a language teacher.
  5. 19 respondents had some awareness of the teaching specificity in International schools (possibly due to the lower number of such schools in the Czech Republic).
  1. Most of the younger respondents understand the need to have at least partial knowledge of a foreign language. 28 confirmed this statement for the teaching of mathematics. The reasons they mentioned were:
  2. Among the perspectives mentioned in the introduction, the most important aspects were student and/or teacher mobility including conferences, retraining programmes, exchange of teaching materials, exchange of expertise, cooperation with foreign partners, work on PC, methodology improvement, and the achievement of communicative competence for both, teachers and learners.
  3. The most frequently used mismatches were: misunderstandings, misconcepts, language barrier, difficulties with explanation and communication in class.
  4. 52 respondents found for the following reasons: symbolic language, international terminology, study and work opportunities, motivation of learners. Some of these also stated disadvantages: more suitable for upper level only, in a limited number of lessons. Some teachers fear that they would lose face not having the adequate language competence.
  5. 14. 34 respondents were for introducing mathematics in a foreign language to schools. Most important reasons:
  6. 36 respondents mentioned advantages for the teaching of foreign languages.
  7. The topics that can ideally be taught in a foreign language would be: Algebra, geometry, arithmetic, programming, statistics, fractions, mathematical analysis, equations, 2D-geometry, word problems, percentage.

Professional development

  1. 26 teachers admitted cooperation with a teacher of another subject.
  2. 49 respondents see the benefits of teach through a foreign language.
  3. 40 respondents think so, and only 7 do not.
  4. 38 respondents think that teaching through a foreign language is very useful for their professional (and personal) development.
  5. 42 respondents gave a positive answer, 16 said no and the rest of them did not give any answer. Most teachers see the necessity to combine verbal and nonverbal input for successful implementation.
  6. The following prerequisites for teachers were stated:
    • basic/very good ability to communicate in a foreign language,
    • knowledge of subject specific terminology,
    • knowledge of foreign language methodology,
    • teaching practice experience,
    • personal experience in the target language country.
  7. 15 teachers think so.
  8. Ways of providing the necessary skills:
    • practising CLIL,
    • in-service training for CLIL (lesson observation + teaching practice),
    • study stays abroad,
    • language courses,
    • cooperation with teachers both at home and abroad.

    N.B. We think that the teachers found the questionnaire too long which might be the reason for not answering the questions that required more extensive answer.


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