## Abstract

Refine your interpretative skills in using the languages of the math class.

Consider regularly selecting from the verbal, written, pictorial, and concrete language familiies.

Consider the employment of more than one family to achieve and enhance communication.

## Please Complete This Pre-Test (Mentally if you wish.)

1. Determine the inverse of .
2. Explain why this is the inverse.
3. Consider the sequence of statements:
Solve: x2 + 2x - 3 =0
(x + 3)(x - 1)= 0
x + 3 =0     x - 1 =0
x = -3, x = 1
Explain why this is true.
4. Explain the term "math wars."
5. Answer showing work. Find the integers.
Three consecutive integers are involved. The sum of the first, triple the middle, and four times the largest is 131.
6. What is the standard US railroad gauge?

### Features of the Languages of the Math Classroom

• If two people don't speak the same "language," communication cannot occur unless an interpreter or another "language" is used.
• People have a fondness, even a loyalty, for their primary language. REPRESSION of another language is often strong.
• People have a hesitance, even a reluctance, to use a language if they do not feel they have sufficient proficiency in the language to express themselves clearly, perhaps even expertly.

### It is often the case that:

• Fluency in one language does not imply fluency in other languages.
• Fluency in one language of a family facilitates mastery of a new language in the same family.
• Introduction of a new language often introduces a new dimension of thought.

REPRESSION

REPRESENTATION

OPERATION

CREATION

INTERPRETATION

### Levels of Proficiency

REPRESSION -  "Ignore it. It's substandard communication."
• "It's not another language, it's slang. It's not math the way I've always spoken it."
• In the late 1970s, college professors refused to use calculators and used slide rules instead.
• In the 1990s, students refused to use pencil & paper and used calculators instead.
• In the early 1990s, teachers refused to use calculators and used pencil & paper instead.
• Still some high school teachers refuse to use manipulatives and use symbol manipulation instead.
REPRESENTATION - "How do you say/represent this or that?"
• Speak of things/nouns: an equation, an expression, an exponent, an exponential.
• Cognition is enhanced by Reflection, summary/debriefing,visualization
• Once representation is begun, one might "go overboard" it using a new language.
OPERATION - "What can you do with this?" or "How do you do this?"
• Speak of doings/verbs: solve an equation, simplify an expression.
• addition, subtraction, multiplication on the 100s board
• additions, subtractions, dilations on the coordinate plane w/GWM

Upon REPRESENTATION or OPERATION, there exists a desire to
restate familiar ideas in the new language.

CREATION - "Watch/Listen to what I can do," and "See how well I speak & understand."
• Using the identity as input to compare or analyze the square root
• Students' coordinate plane art work with equations

REPRESENTATION and OPERATION initiate CREATION -
the stage in which a new idea or clarity of an old theme occurs because of the restatement or translation.

INTERPRETATION - "Which language suits my purpose best?" or
"Should I say the same thing in both/all languages?" and
"It doesn't mean exactly that: it's means this."

• A good story is worth retelling.
• Tell it in as many languages a possible.

### When deciding which language(s) to speak -

Introduce in the concrete.

Debrief in the abstract.

Don't force anyone to speak a "less sophisticated language."

Use it yourself. Speak it to them. Do not force them to reply using that language.

## Math Class Languages

 The Mother Tongue, Other tongue(s) VERBAL formal spoken mathematics informal spoken math spoken symbol symbol speak calculatoreze/computereze web speak WRITTEN written word written symbol semisymbolic calculator symbol PICTORIAL picture numeral graph nonverbal body language CONCRETE object model manipulative/token

## Strategies for Each Language Family

VERBAL
- mother tongue, other tongue(s)
• DTWYP, Discuss This With Your Partner
• CREATE time in class for math discussion
- formal/informal spoken mathematics
• Speak Both Formal and Informal Mathematics
- spoken symbol, symbol speak
• Speak each language. State in one language, then restate in the other.
• Don't symbol speak sound bytes, use formal spoken math.
"Laws of Exponents" ...
- calculatoreze/computereze
• Alternate between spoken symbols and calculatoreze - say both: the "first function" and "why won" for "Y1"
- web speak
• Create a listserv for your students and for colleagues.
• Post notes and animation
WRITTEN
- written word, written symbol
• Have students write their own written, non symbolic, version of the 'Laws of Exponents'
- semisymbolic
• Here are the rules:
• Use words (including nicknames) and arithmetic to express an idea.
• Perhaps encircle the words with parentheses for clarity.
• Use no variable numbers. Use only constant numbers.
• Use order of operations.
- calculator symbol
• Use as many languages as possible.
• Think of all the ways one might go about solving a quadratic equation!
PICTORIAL
- picture, numeral, graph, nonverbal body language
• Use as many languages as possible.
CONCRETE
- object, model, manipulative/token
• Speak both "Mother Tongue" and "Formal Mathematics" when in the concrete.
• Permit free play before structured work.

## A good story is worth retelling.

The Romans had two-horse chariots and built roads all over to accommodate these vehicles. The distance between chariot wheels was determined by the width of the horses that pulled the chariots.

The roads of the Roman Empire, including those in what is now England, received ruts created by the chariot's wheels.

All vehicles on the roads, even nonchariots, had to deal with the ruts and, since safety and durability were desired, vehicles other than chariots were built to accommodate this width.

The English train was a vehicle built with the same body as other vehicles of the time and therefore used the same wheelbase.

Men who built English trains knew this wheel width and used it in building trains.

Men who built English trains came to America and built trains to the same specs as in their homeland.

In order for trains to move from track to track in America, even those made by different companies conformed to the standard gauge, 4-feet-8.5-inch or 1,435-millimetres, the width determined by the width of a pair of Roman horses.

We can say lightly that the standard US railroad gauge was determined by a pair of horses' ass's. We can also learn from a history lesson -- about doing thing the way they've always been done, but also about conformity for safety and durability -- a lesson to remember in the "math wars."

## Most Important Remarks

• Discuss This With Your Partner! is the most valuable strategy!
• Introduce in the Most Concrete
• Debrief in the Most Abstract
• Regularly Require Translation from One Language to Another
• Good Stories Are Worth Retelling. Retell you mathematical stories in as many languages as possible.

• Determine the inverse of

I. Verbally - mother tongue, mathematics, math  The function: 1st: Take a number. 2nd: Add 3. 3rd: Take the reciprocal of this. 4th: Take the opposite of this. 5th: Subtract 4 from this. The inverse must: 1st: Add 4. 2nd: Take the opposite of this. 3rd: Take the reciprocal of this. 4th: Subtract 3. 5th: Get a number. x becomes x + 4 becomes -(x+4) becomes -1/(x+4) becomes -1/(x+4) - 3

II. Pictorially, Concretely - graphically, manipulatively

III. Symbolically, w/pencil and paper