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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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French Data Analysis of the Questionnaire for Teacher Trainers

About you
  1. Seven mathematics teacher trainers have answered the questionnaire.
  2. All of them speak, write and read English «well enough», one of them reads and speaks Hebrew.
  3. All of them speak, write and read English «well enough», one of them reads and speaks Hebrew.
  4. The seven mathematics teacher trainers are both lower and upper secondary school teacher trainers. One of them is also a primary school teacher trainer.
Professional experiences
  1. Two trainers have thought of teaching mathematics in a foreign language.
  2. Only one has already attended a training course to teach mathematics in a foreign language.
  3. Only one co-operation between a mathematic teacher trainer and a language teacher trainer, within an initiation into foreign language for primary school teachers.
  4. Six teacher trainers know about European schools.
  1. All of them think that it’s useful, but not so important to know a foreign language to teach mathematics. Using a foreign language allows news or deeper questions about the language place in mathematics teaching.
  2. Among the angles which are mentioned in the introduction, the most important aspects are teacher’s mobility and cultural open-mindedness. They also consider it would make an interdisciplinary work easier.
  3. When the teacher and the students do not share the same mother tongue, besides the obstacles induced by the fact that most common expressions are different («not literally translatable»), the biggest difficulty is the difference of cultural background. That makes difficult, or even impossible, to refer to common pictures by explaining.
  4. All teachers’ trainers think it’s possible to teach mathematics in a foreign language, because of the relative independence of mathematical language from the vernacular one. But some of them mention the difficulty to manage the heterogeneity of pupils; they have reservations about the conducting of the class.
  5. Most trainers think it would be useful for pupil’s training in mathematics to learn mathematics in a foreign language for two main reasons: motivation of pupils and appropriation of concepts. But some of them think this practice would induce more difficulties.
  6. All of them think it would be useful for pupil’s training in a foreign language to learn mathematics in this foreign language. That would mobilize the language in unusual fields for pupils, enrich vocabulary and accuracy which is not always necessary in common life situations.
  7. The topics that can ideally be taught in a foreign language would be: algebra, statistics, probabilities, and geometry. But national curricula would influence the choice of the topics.
Professional development
  1. All trainers have experienced teaching students at least once with another subject trainer, even if some of them talk about superficial cooperation.
  2. Trainers think that mathematics teachers can profit in their practices from being able to teach in a foreign language. This process can bring them cultural openings and knowledge of foreign programmes. It also improves the reflection about their practices.
  3. They think that language teachers can also profit from co-operation with maths teachers by interdisciplinary working.
  4. All of them think it would be useful for professional development to teach maths in a foreign language to favour a development of their career and also their mobility.
  5. One trainer has a dream: teaching maths in antique Greek language…
  6. Every one is embarrassed to give a well-argued answer, because they assess their present standard too low. The importance of the contents and of the chosen language by teaching is mentioned again.

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