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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 comparison of language teachers’ and mathematics teachers’ views on teaching mathematics in a foreign language

We worked with two groups of teachers and teacher trainers: subject and language specialists.
We have discovered the following differences between subject and language teacher’s answers.
  1. Subject specialists fear that their command of the foreign language is not sufficient especially for trainer/teacher – student communication. It is easier to present something in a foreign language because the paper is prepared beforehand. It is more difficult, though, to react to students’ questions and proposals after the presentation.
  2. Language specialists are anxious about the subject to be taught because they lack appropriate qualification.
  3. The above problems are not apparent in the responses provided by specialists qualified in both areas. Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Education, has been offering pre-service magisterial study programme combining foreign languages and content subjects since 1990.
  4. Another significant difference appears between the respondents’ age categories: The anxiety is more visible in older people whereas the young ones’ approach is more open and flexible possibly as a result of student mobility options, e.g. within the Socrates Erasmus framework.
  5. Common features concern methodology and reflect prior teaching experience. There is a significant difference between the two following types of classroom situations:
    • The teacher and the class cooperate for a long period of time. In this case, the didactical contract is well established.
    • The teacher and the class do not know each other, the teacher is new for the students which means that he/she is facing a difficult situation: either he/she tries to copy the previous teacher (if he/she had a chance to observe at least some of the classes and discuss the work with the teacher) or he/she might follow his/her own path implementing his/her teaching style. Both of these might result in difficulties.

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