British Journal of Education (BJE)

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The Use of Mother Tongue in Communicating Mathematics: Implication for Teaching and Learning of Mathematics


Mathematics as a school subject is designed to solve the everyday problem created by human activities; these problems are domesticated in the different cultures of man all over the world.  However, the performance of students keeps dwindling due to the westernize approach of teaching and learning mathematics. In other to solve this precarious situation this paper advocated the use of mother tongue in the teaching of mathematics. Mother tongue approach here refers to first-language education as a medium of instruction. The use of mother tongue in the teaching and learning of mathematics is meant to address the high functional illiteracy of Nigeria where language plays a significant factor. Using mother tongue to teach the basic concepts of numbers, operations and other concepts of mathematics helps build a strong foundation for the understanding and learning of higher mathematics. This approach is effective not only in getting the interest of students in the lesson but as a springboard in teaching new mathematical concepts, principles and in deepening student understanding on how mathematical operations or processes work. The mother tongue concepts of teaching and learning mathematics in this work shall be based on the following sub-topics: Numeration/Counting System, Basic Arithmetic Operations, Rhymes and Geometric Concepts. The paper completely reduced the Eurocentric mathematics beliefs of students and make them discover how best mathematics can be learning from their mother tongue. The paper recommended amongst others that teachers of mathematics should adopt the use of mother tongue in teaching mathematics in order to improve students understanding of the subject.

Keywords: Learning, Mathematics, Mother tongue, School, Teaching

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