Matematik+andraspråkselever = matematiksvårigheter? : Varför och vad kan lärarna göra?

Detta är en Uppsats för yrkesexamina på avancerad nivå från Södertörns högskola/Lärarutbildningen


The purpose of my examination work was to show the need for support for students with another mother-tongue than Swedish, so that these students would be able to get through mathematics tuition better. To achieve this purpose, I chose to start from the perspective that presented itself at interviews with two class teachers and two mother-tongue supervisors. I also chose to use the qualitative research interview as study method, as I tried to understand those informing me in a thorough and in-depth way. In my study I have had a sociocultural perspective as starting point where the conceptions teaching, language and communication, support and individualizing are central for the development of knowledge.

 The questions for my study during this process were as follows:

  •  What difficulties, according to the teachers interviewed can occur for second language students in mathematics?
  •  What ways and methods of working do the teachers chosen give priority to, so that   the second language students` results in mathematics will improve?

 The results from my interviews show that the difficulties with mathematics for second anguage students can be perceived as being dependent on a combination of reasons, where amongst other things language plays a central part. Difficulties can even arise when the students have other mathematical abilities from their own home environment. Another result shows that even the class teachers are of the opinion that there are difficulties to individualize the teaching in schools with large classes. This can possibly be interpreted that those large classes in the schools can be seen as the reason for the inadequate study results in mathematics, where the students are unable to understand sufficiently suited lessons. These difficulties do not arise for the mother tongue teachers as they sit with each student individually. From these results we see that even the class teachers and mother tongue tutors have different ways and methods of working with mathematic tuition to be able to improve the results in mathematics for second language students.

The result of the study shows that all teachers are of the opinion that language is a tool, thus enabling the student to succeed in mathematics. However, there is disagreement between the class teachers and mother tongue tutors, as to whether it is the student’s knowledge of

Swedish or their mother tongue that could best help them in their understanding of mathematics. The study also shows that the class teachers believe that it is important that the students are allowed to sit in groups with other students and interact. However, the mother tongue tutors believe that the communication between student and tutor is the most important as they sit with each student individually and believe that the students will develop better in this way. The result of the study also shows that all teachers believe that support and motivation is required for the students to develop. The class teachers also believe that even laboratory material is excellent support for students with difficulties and should be used in teaching. However, the mother tongue tutors believe that laboratory material is good support but say that it is better to work abstractly with mathematics.

From the results I am able to see, that the class teachers and mother tongue tutors give priority to different ways and methods of working with mathematics to strengthen second language students.

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