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Immigrant learners learning linear programming in multilingual classrooms in South Africa

This study used discourse analysis (Gee, 2011; 2005; 1999) in order to explore a socio-situated view of how teachers created learning opportunities for the participation of immigrant learners when learning linear programming in a Grade 11 mathematics classroom in South Africa. The aim was to explore that which mathematics teachers do in classrooms with immigrant learners that they will not do if there were no immigrants. A discourse analysis approach was used in order to view the opportunities created through language use not as a tool for communication only but also as a tool for building reality.
The study reported in this thesis was conducted in three different settings which are in; urban, township and rural environments. The urban environment focuses on immigrant learners who were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and started schooling there, in the township and rural environment it focuses on immigrant learners born in South Africa with parents born in the Republic of Mozambique or Angola. Three different mathematics classrooms were observed in their natural environment during lessons focusing on linear programming. Data was collected through a learner questionnaire issued before lesson observations. The aim of the learner questionnaire was to understand the language background of the learners in the mathematics classrooms selected for the study. The second method included lesson observation for at most five consecutive days at each setting. It involved observing teachers and immigrant learners during teaching sessions of linear programming activities. The activities included reading, writing, speaking and participating in mathematical activities. These activities were then analysed to understand how teachers created learning opportunities for the immigrant learners. The study contextualised the results from lesson observations by conducting clinical interviews with three immigrant learners, one from each site, to provide insights into the explanations on immigrant learners approaches when solving a linear programming task. The main conclusion in this study is that immigrant learners were successful in linear programming when teachers’ created learning opportunities by using code switching to support them.
The main contribution of this study is that it focuses on multilingual mathematics classrooms of immigrant learners in South Africa – a context that has not yet been researched in South African
mathematics education. Exploring language practices in multilingual mathematics classrooms of immigrant learners provides a different gaze into teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual classrooms in South Africa. Equally important is the extent to which immigrant learners are distinct to multilingual learners in the teaching and learning of linear programming. / Mathematics Education / D. Phil. (Mathematics, Science and Technology Education)
Date02 1900
CreatorsNkambule, Thulisile
ContributorsSetati, R. M.
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
Format1 online resource (xvi, 387 leaves)
RightsUniversity of South Africa

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