Which Potential Linguistic Challenges do Pre-Service Teachers Identify in a Mathematical Expository Text?

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Language is a crucial aspect of mathematical thinking and learning, and it is therefore essential for teachers to be equipped with the skills required for linguistically responsive teaching. This includes the ability to identify potential linguistic challenges in expository texts. In the present study, we investigated the ability of pre-service teachers (N = 115) to identify potential linguistic challenges in a mathematical expository text for ninth graders. Participants identified about 12% of the potential linguistic challenges that were previously identified by a reference expert group. They identified challenges more frequently that were on the word level and considered to be mathematics-specific by the experts. Subjective judgements of disciplinarity of the challenges differed between participants, and between participants and experts. No differences in the ability to identify potential linguistic challenges were found between participants who studied language arts (German or English) or mathematics as a subject. Our results indicate that pre-service teachers may not be adequately prepared to identify and respond to linguistic challenges in mathematical expository texts.

Translated title of the contributionWelche potenziellen sprachlichen Herausforderungen identifizieren angehende Lehrkäfte in einem mathematischen Erklärtext?
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal fur Mathematik-Didaktik
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)295-324
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 10.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Leuphana University Lüneburg. The authors would like to thank Helmut Linneweber-Lammerskitten and Marc Schafer for bringing Viviani’s Theorem to their attention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Educational science - Explanation, Expository text, language, Linguistic challenges, linguistically responsive teaching, Teacher competence