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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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Danish Data Analysis of the Questionnaire for Teachers

About you
  1. Only four teachers answered the questionnaire. Three of them are language teachers; one of them is a math teacher. All of them are primary and lower secondary teachers.
  2. One of them teaches mathematics; one teaches English, one English and German and one English and French.
  3. All of them speak English and German; furthermore one speaks French and one speaks Spanish.
  4. All four teachers are “fluent” in English and one in German and one in French. The three of them are on an intermediate level in German and one on a basic level in French.
Professional experiences
  1. The math teacher never asked a language teacher how he could translate a mathematical word or phrase into a foreign language.
  2. The math teacher has been asked by a language teacher about the meaning of mathematical words or phrases.
  3. The math teacher has once taught mathematics using a foreign language when he taught an immigrant pupil.
  4. Two of them have co-operated with teachers of other subjects, but only in general interdisciplinary projects.
  5. Two of them have heard about the International Baccalaureate and about international schools.
  1. None of the teachers find it important to know a foreign language in order to teach – unless you are a language teacher.
  2. The three of them think that it generally is important to broaden your perspectives, and one of them mentions especially the development of intercultural competence.
  3. All of them mention the risk of misunderstandings when the teacher and the pupils do not share the same mother tongue, incl. a meta-language about mathematical concepts.
  1. All of the teachers think that it will be possible to teach mathematics in a foreign language – also because certain mathematic concepts are universal.
  2. Only one of the teachers thinks that it will be helpful for mathematical learning that mathematics is taught in a foreign language. The reason is that it may be useful be taught by a foreign teacher who uses another methodology than the one the pupils are used to. The three other teachers think that it is important to avoid the increasing Anglicisation of Danish.
  3. Opinions are divided as to the usefulness for language learning of mathematics being taught in a foreign language. Two of them think that it will be useful because it is real communication and because pupils going abroad to study may profit from it. Two teachers see no advantages for language learning by mathematics being taught in a foreign language.
  4. None of the respondents had any opinion as to which mathematical topics could ideally be taught in a foreign language.

Professional development

  1. All four teachers have co-operated with teachers in other subjects. One of them co-operated with a science and math teacher about a drama project in English.
  2. Two of the teachers think math teachers can profit from being able to teach in a foreign language because it will give the teachers a deeper insight into mathematical concepts when they have to be understood in a foreign language.
  3. All respondents think that language teachers can profit from co-operation with math teachers as it always is useful get acquainted with other subjects.
  4. The math teacher cannot see that it will be useful for his professional development to teach math in a foreign language.
  5. The math teacher does not think that teaching mathematics in a foreign language will require a change of methods.
  6. All respondents think that comprehensive knowledge of language and culture is a prerequisite for teaching in a foreign language.
  7. Three of the teachers thin that if the language of instruction is the pupils’ mother tongue and a foreign language for the teacher, then it is even more important that the teacher has a very high level of communicative competence.
  8. All of the teachers think that the necessary skills could be provided through in-service courses in Denmark and through studies in foreign countries.

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