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ERIC Number: EJ764980
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May
Pages: 72
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8251
Doing Wrong with Words: What Bars Students' Access to Arithmetical Discourses
Ben-Yehuda, Miriam; Lavy, Ilana; Linchevski, Liora; Sfard, Anna
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, v36 n3 p176-247 May 2005
To investigate mechanisms of failure in mathematics, we adopt the "communicational approach to cognition," which describes thinking as an activity of communication and learning mathematics as an initiation to a certain type of discourse. In the search for factors that impede students' participation in arithmetic communication, we examine the arithmetical discourses of two 18-year-old girls with long histories of learning difficulties. The resulting "arithmetical discourse profiles" of the two students help us substantiate the following two claims: (1) Almost any person may become a skillful participant of arithmetical discourse, provided, first, that a discursive mode is found that makes the best of this person's special strengths and second, that in the process of teaching, the general sociocultural context of learning is taken into account as having a central role in enabling or barring one's access to literate discourses; (2) if the potential for successful participation remains often unrealized, it is mainly because of certain widely practiced abuses of literate mathematical discourse. (Contains 2 figures, 6 tables and 14 footnotes.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel