Title of Poster / Presentation

Mathematics Orality and Literacy

Start Date

8-5-2013 9:00 AM

End Date

8-5-2013 10:30 AM

Subjects

Mathematics -- Study and teaching -- Curricula, Mathematics -- Language, Communication in mathematics

Description

To become a mathematician, a student must learn how to "do" mathematics and also how to communicate with other mathematicians. Through a special language, both oral and written, mathematicians share a discourse community. This community extends not only across the boundaries of natural language, but also across centuries. My paper explores the following question: How does a person enter the discourse community of mathematicians? My research shows that learning mathematics parallels the learning of natural language reading and writing. Much like learning a foreign language, learning mathematics has been based mostly on oral tradition. The orality of mathematics learning is confirmed by my interviews with three college math instructors. A key difference is that orality alone is not sufficient to "do" mathematics. Literacy in the language of mathematics is necessary both to "do" mathematics and to tell mathematical "stories." Orality is, however, crucial to the student's learning process.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/9466

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May 8th, 9:00 AM May 8th, 10:30 AM

Mathematics Orality and Literacy

To become a mathematician, a student must learn how to "do" mathematics and also how to communicate with other mathematicians. Through a special language, both oral and written, mathematicians share a discourse community. This community extends not only across the boundaries of natural language, but also across centuries. My paper explores the following question: How does a person enter the discourse community of mathematicians? My research shows that learning mathematics parallels the learning of natural language reading and writing. Much like learning a foreign language, learning mathematics has been based mostly on oral tradition. The orality of mathematics learning is confirmed by my interviews with three college math instructors. A key difference is that orality alone is not sufficient to "do" mathematics. Literacy in the language of mathematics is necessary both to "do" mathematics and to tell mathematical "stories." Orality is, however, crucial to the student's learning process.