Mathematics is commonly seen as a discipline with no place for linguistic ambiguity. In this paper, the treatment of ambiguity in two data extracts is critically examined. Analysis draws on two contrasting models of the nature of mathematics and mathematical language. The formal model sees meaning as fixed and relating to language relatively unproblematically. The discursive model sees meaning as situated in and by interaction, and so as shifting and changing as interaction unfolds. Analysis of the extract from the National Numeracy Strategy suggests that it is based on the formal model. This analysis is contrasted with analysis of classroom interaction which reveals how, from a discursive perspective, ambiguity can be seen as a resource for doing mathematics and for learning the language of mathematics.
|Translated title of the contribution||Ambiguity in the mathematics classroom|
|Pages (from-to)||117 - 125|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Language and Education|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
Bibliographical notePublisher: Multilingual Matters & Channel View Publications
Other: No DOI