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Communication about mathematical concepts using appropriate terminology is a standard established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. However, international test results show that United States’ students are lagging in mathematical literacy. This case study analyzes the ways in which instructors use language to help students move toward conceptual understanding of mathematical vocabulary. Three mathematics education professors at a mid-size four year institution were observed teaching math classes to students enrolled in elementary or secondary certification programs. Collected data included: audio-recorded observations and field notes, lesson artifacts such as quizzes and handouts, and audio-recorded interviews with each participant. Findings showed that instructors used extended classroom discourse, asked information-seeking questions, and modeled appropriate use of mathematical language to elicit understanding of mathematical language. Implications for future study include investigation into the methods of instructors at various levels of education and the differences in discourse related to language between high performing and low performing schools.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.