# Project Details

### Description

The project aims to investigate the diverse capacities of Australian Indigenous languages (AILs) for mathematical expression from a cross-linguistic perspective. With a novel utilisation of linguistic theory and methodology, this interdisciplinary project expects to advance understanding of the relationship between mathematics and language and how AILs can be used for mathematics education.

School mathematics needs a mathematics register, the vocabulary and language structures used for mathematics. However, many AILs don't have a mathematics register so most Indigenous language speaking students are learning mathematics in English, even in some bilingual schools. Learning mathematics in first language improves student learning and is a human right (UNESCO policy paper 24, 2016). Structural differences in languages mean that mathematics registers must vary but there are no systematic guidelines on how develop a new school mathematics register in Australian languages. Beginning to develop such guidelines and adding to what is known about relations between mathematics and language will facilitate the development of mathematics registers in new languages, improving the potential for delivering mathematics education in AILs with the goal of improving student learning.

This project is developing a typologically informed analytical framework, and establishing 2 case sites in Northern Territory schools where students speak Indigenous languages to test methodology for developing guidelines for mathematics language requirements. It will increase understanding of how the language requirements of mathematics can be identified in Australian languages and increase systematic understanding of the language requirements of mathematics education in different languages, adding to what is known about the relationship between mathematics and language with global education implications. This is will inform mathematics curriculum development in AILs, which is hoped to improve Indigenous students' mathematics outcomes and school engagement.

**Why are we doing it?**School mathematics needs a mathematics register, the vocabulary and language structures used for mathematics. However, many AILs don't have a mathematics register so most Indigenous language speaking students are learning mathematics in English, even in some bilingual schools. Learning mathematics in first language improves student learning and is a human right (UNESCO policy paper 24, 2016). Structural differences in languages mean that mathematics registers must vary but there are no systematic guidelines on how develop a new school mathematics register in Australian languages. Beginning to develop such guidelines and adding to what is known about relations between mathematics and language will facilitate the development of mathematics registers in new languages, improving the potential for delivering mathematics education in AILs with the goal of improving student learning.

**What are we doing and what do we hope to find?**This project is developing a typologically informed analytical framework, and establishing 2 case sites in Northern Territory schools where students speak Indigenous languages to test methodology for developing guidelines for mathematics language requirements. It will increase understanding of how the language requirements of mathematics can be identified in Australian languages and increase systematic understanding of the language requirements of mathematics education in different languages, adding to what is known about the relationship between mathematics and language with global education implications. This is will inform mathematics curriculum development in AILs, which is hoped to improve Indigenous students' mathematics outcomes and school engagement.

Status | Active |
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Effective start/end date | 4/11/19 → 30/04/21 |