Die invloed van taalvaardigheid op die meetkundedenke van graad 8 en 9 leerders
Many authors have expressed concern regarding the extent of underachievement in mathematics. The role of language proficiency as a causal factor in this underachievement has been neglected. Researchers found sufficient evidence to conclude that language proficiency is related to mathematics achievement. In mathematics, symbolic language fills a dual role: It serves as an instrument of communication and as an instrument of thought by making the representation of mathematical concepts, structures and relationships possible (Esty & Teppo, 1996:45). According to Van Hiele (1988:5), language structure is a critical factor in the progression through the Van Hiele levels from the visual, concrete structures to the abstract structures. In this study, the influence of language proficiency on geometric thinking is investigated. 152 grade 8 and 9 learners completed two tests each. One test measured language proficiency in the learners' mother tongue. The second is a geometric test based on a Mayberry-type Van Hiele test for assessing learners' geometric thinking levels. Language proficiency was taken as the independent variable, and geometric thinking as the dependent variable. In the analysis of the results, the top 25 % and bottom 25% performers in the language proficiency test were chosen. Cohen's (1988) d-value was used to determine if there was a practical significant difference in the performance of the more proficient language learners and the less proficient language learners with respect to each of the first three Van Hiele levels. Results showed a practical significant difference between the performance of the more proficient language learners and the less proficient language learners with respect to each of the first three Van Hiele levels, but also with respect to the geometry test as a whole. In particular, two aspects of language proficiency, namely reading comprehension and vocabulary, appeared to be very strong predictors for geometric thinking on the first three Van Hiele levels (d ≥ 0,8). Key terms for indexing: geometry, geometry learning, mathematics learning, geometric thinking, language, language proficiency, geometry and language, mathematics and language.
- Education