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ERIC Number: EJ1117985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1837-6290
Basic Numeracy Abilities of Xhosa Reception Year Students in South Africa: Language Policy Issues
Feza, Nosisi Nellie
Issues in Educational Research, v26 n4 p576-591 2016
Language in mathematics learning and teaching has a significant role in influencing performance. Literature on language in mathematics learning has evolved from language as a barrier to language as a cultural tool, and recently more research has argued for use of home language as an instructional tool in mathematics classrooms. However, the complexity of language is becoming another emerging challenge from bilingualism to multilingualism in different contexts. The need for access to mathematics knowledge has prompted debate about language policies that are inclusive of previously underrepresented languages, especially in South Africa. This paper therefore extends this debate by exploring Reception class students' basic numeracy abilities and their numeracy levels to see if they speak in accord with the current language policy of South Africa and to assess whether the curriculum connects with the students. A concurrent mixed methods design was employed to investigate context and numeracy knowledge levels for a sample of 26 Reception class students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Both descriptive and thematic analyses were conducted to analyse the biographical, contextual and interview data collected. The findings reveal that the literacies experienced by students in their early ages of life are different from those perceived by policy makers, researchers and curriculum designers. This paper calls for more studies that are interdisciplinary as new identities and literacies are developing.
Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. 5/202 Coode Street, Como, Western Australia 6152, Australia. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A