Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2019, Page: 20-31
High School Students’ Language Related Struggles with Contextualized Differential Equations
Zakaria Ndemo, Department of Science and Mathematics Education, Faculty of Science Education, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe
Received: Jan. 10, 2019;       Accepted: Mar. 15, 2019;       Published: Apr. 18, 2019
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijamtp.20190501.13      View  717      Downloads  96
Upon observing with concern that the majority of high school students experienced severe language related difficulties when solving contextualized differential equations, the researcher then decided to investigate the kinds of such challenges and their impact on students’ learning of differential equations. A sample of 10 mathematics students was selected from one urban high school in one province in Zimbabwe. Written tasks and follow up interviews were employed as data collection tools for the study. Content analysis technique was applied to the written responses and interview transcriptions to obtain a revealing picture of how the kinds of the language related challenges interfere with the growth of mathematical content. The study revealed that the students struggled with interpreting and formulating differential equations from given mathematical situations. Further, interpretation of given initial conditions posed a challenge to the learners. A major consequence of these language related challenges was that the students could not generate complete solutions and lack of interplay between conceptual and procedural fluency was one of the insights generated from this study with regards to the learning of differential equations. The study findings have important implications for instruction in high school mathematics lessons such as the need to develop and foster the students’ abilities to engage in adaptive reasoning and use multiple modes of presenting content in order to promote students’ understanding of contextualized differential equations.
Differential Equations, Contextualized Mathematics. High School Mathematics, Language Barriers
To cite this article
Zakaria Ndemo, High School Students’ Language Related Struggles with Contextualized Differential Equations, International Journal of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Vol. 5, No. 1, 2019, pp. 20-31. doi: 10.11648/j.ijamtp.20190501.13
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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