English as a Language Medium of Teaching Mathematics in Jordanian Primary Schools
- Mathematics, First language, Second language, Language medium, Jordanian schools, Contrastive analysis.
It is agreed that, if instruction in mathematics takes place in the students’ first language, understanding abstract concepts and ideas in that subject can be challenging for them. However, many Jordanian students must master mathematics only via a second language or side by side with mastering it in Arabic, depending on their school system. The present study investigated the effect of using a second language to teach mathematics in international Jordanian schools. The study conducted a contrastive analysis of the strategies used in teaching mathematics in Jordanian schools. The researchers prepared a mathematics test with the assistance of a mathematics teacher. The test consisted of three-word questions whose complexity ranged between simple calculations to complex calculations. Data were collected from eighty students in Grade 7. Forty of the students were from a school which starts teaching mathematics only in Arabic - the students’ first language - and then in Grade 7, it introduces mathematics in English; alternatively, the other forty were from a school which teaches mathematics in English straight from Grade 1. The result shows that the language medium has an essential role in the teaching process. The study reveals significant differences between the two groups; the students who are taught mathematics in Arabic first tend to be more skillful and accurate answering the mathematical problems than those who are taught mathematics in English from Grade 1.