[MATHLINK] Symposium Tomorrow, August 12th @ 9am EST

MCLS Trainee mclstrainee at gmail.com
Wed Aug 11 10:31:07 CST 2021

Dear MCLS Community,

Please be sure to join us for our next symposium, tomorrow* Thursday,
August 12 @ **9am EST // 2pm BST, "**The interplay of vocabulary, reading
competence and early number concept development: Linguistic perspectives on
early numeracy in South Africa*". We're excited to hear from organizer and
speaker Hanrie Bezuidenhout (University of Johannesburg), as well as E.
Henning (University of Johannesburg), F. Simelane (University of
Johannesburg), and A. Dlamini (University of Johannesburg). See below for
an abstract.

As always, you can join the room for this year's meetings at any time from
the link https://tinyurl.com/MCLS2021
ID: 225 833 7242, Passcode: MCLS2021).

Thanks so much and we hope to see you tomorrow!
The MCLS Conference Organizing Committee

*Past Events and News: *

   - Did you miss the panel last week on Alt/Non-Academic Careers? It's
   available to watch now on the MCLS Trainee
   Thanks again to our awesome panelists for joining.
   - Also, be sure to check out the current version of the full MCLS 2021
   program by clicking here

*Upcoming Events and News:*

   - Friday, August 20 @ 11am-1pm EST // 4pm-6pm BST - Workshop: Applying
   for Academic Jobs featuring Julia Bahnmueller, Jenny Chan, Sarah Eason,
   Karina Hamamouche, Mojtaba Soltanlou, and Eric Wilkey
   - Thursday, August 26th @ 9:00-10:00am EST // 2:00-3:00pm BST - TBA
   (Organizer: TBA)

This symposium addresses the reciprocal relationship of language and early
number concept development in multilingual South African learning
environments. Contemporary developmental psychologists and educational
neuroscientists present convincing evidence that language and concept
development coalesce to build mathematical concepts in the early years.
During preschool years, most South African children encounter
mathematics-specific language in hybrid linguistic environments.
Tsotsitaal, a mixture of local languages, is prevalent in urban areas. When
formal instruction begins in the first grade, most children learn in their
first (African) language. Nevertheless, some parents choose to send their
children to English medium schools, where they are, arguably, English
language learners. In a now suspended national assessment drive in South
Africa, it was evident that differences in the structure and content of
different local languages and English create confusion among young children
who learn mathematics in hybrid languages. There is a growing body of
research that indicates that early exposure to mathematics-specific
language in home and in school environments play an important part in
children’s development of number concepts. Children who hear good quality
mathematics-specific language at home and in preschool, are likely to
succeed in formal numeracy assessment tasks in the early grades. In
contrast, children who hear less, may find it difficult to integrate their
understanding of early number concepts with the lexicon they now encounter
in the early grades. Because children develop conceptual properties of
ideas such as more, many, equal, in front of, first, last, and so forth in
tandem with the linguistic representations (words) of these ideas during
their first few years in life, both the quality and quantity of their
exposure to mathematics-specific language in their early years matter. When
thinking about how language impacts early mathematics learning,
developmental psychologists suggest that individual cases should be
investigated to investigate the detail of development. Recognizing that
practitioners curate knowledge in different ways than researchers do, and
have equal footing in the accumulation of knowledge, practitioners’ views
on education are increasingly valued in research.This is why we decided
that this symposium should include the perspective of a teacher on the
intersect of linguistic augmentation and number concept development. The
symposium also includes a theoretical discussion and descriptions of three
studies conducted in two schools in Soweto, South Africa: i) the use of a
mathematics-specific vocabulary test; ii) an inquiry about how grade 3
children understand word problems and iii) early grades teachers’ uptake of
a model of early numeracy development that aimed to raise awareness not
only of number concept development, but also of classroom talk for such
development. We conclude that the lack of mathematical abilities per se may
not be the greatest barrier to learning mathematics in multilingual
settings, but rather that a lack of mathematics specific language knowledge
may be one of the variables to inhibit learning. We suggest that this
should be included in future studies, along with reading competence in the
case of word problem tasks.

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