Danish comparison of language teachers’ and mathematics teachers’ views
Comparison of language teachers’ and mathematics teachers’ views on teaching mathematics in a foreign language
A comparison is difficult because only four teachers answered the questionnaire. Three of them are language teachers; one is a maths teacher.
The maths teacher never asked a language teacher about translation of mathematical terms while he had been asked the meaning of certain mathematical concepts by teachers of languages.
The language teachers are interested in the development of intercultural competence while the maths teacher expresses no such interest.
All teachers fear misunderstandings if the teacher and the pupils do not share the same mother tongue.
All of the teachers think that it will be possible to teach mathematics in a foreign language – also because certain mathematical concepts are universal.
The language teachers think maths teachers can profit from being able to teach in a foreign language because it will give them a deeper insight into mathematical concepts when they have to be understood in a foreign language.
All respondents think that language teachers can profit from co-operation with math teachers as it always is useful get acquainted with other subjects while the maths teacher cannot see that it will be useful for his professional development to teach the subject in a foreign language.
All respondents think that comprehensive knowledge of language and culture is a prerequisite for teaching in a foreign language.
Conclusion: Generally language teachers think that both teachers and pupils can profit from maths being taught in a foreign language. The maths teacher does not agree.
Comparison of language teacher trainers’ and mathematics teacher trainers’ views on teaching mathematics in a foreign languageA comparison is difficult because only eight maths teacher trainers and two language teacher trainers answered the questionnaire.
The two language TTs find it important to be able to teach in a foreign language because of the possibilities of student and teacher exchange as a means of furthering internationalization. Most of the maths TTs find it necessary to be able to read literature in English about the newest research results.
The two language TTs find it very important to develop intercultural communicative competence through mobility, while the maths TTs do not share this view. Two of them mention the possibility of professional discussions with mathematicians in other countries.
All teacher trainers think it is possible to teach mathematics in a foreign language because mathematical concepts are universal.
All math TTs think that it will not be helpful for learning mathematics that it is taught in a foreign language; on the other hand most of them think that it will be helpful for language learning if mathematics is taught in a foreign language because the learning of a foreign language profits from as much exposure to the foreign language as possible.
Half of the maths TTs think that math teachers can profit from being able to teach in a foreign language because it will increase their possibilities for participating in teacher exchanges thus enhancing their communicative and intercultural competences while the other half sees no advantages in being able to teach in a foreign language.
Conclusion: Language teacher trainers find it important that students and pupils are exposed as much as possible to foreign languages, incl. being taught mathematics in a FL, as it will enhance their intercultural communicative competences. Mathematics teacher trainers find it important to be able to read literature about maths in a foreign language and to carry through professional discussions with foreign colleagues. However, they do not see the usefulness of mathematics being taught in a foreign language.