NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ728312
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 6
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0782
The Hidden Dimensions of Mathematical Language and Literacy
Street, Brian
Language and Education, v19 n2 p135-140 2005
I draw attention to the distinction between reductionist views of "language" and the rich and complex ways in which we might approach language as social practice and suggest the latter view is evident in the set of papers collected here. Socially oriented linguists, including those in New Literacy Studies (NLS), look beyond reductionism, to consider more complex "social" features of language and literacy. This perspective includes: viewing language and literacy as a process rather than as a fixed entity and as a resource rather than as a set of rules; exploring the role of language and literacy in implementing social agendas and in establishing relations between participants, such as their role in establishing and challenging power relations; and the relation of language and literacy to other means of communication and meaning making, such as visual, gestural, and iconic, that are usually woven in with language use. I consider how appropriate it might be to apply aspects of these approaches and in particular of the "academic literacies" approach linked to them, to what we might term the "academic numeracies" at play in the texts under consideration. These perspectives entail an assumption that participants deploy "hidden knowledge" of the features of language, literacy and numeracy in order to accomplish their social ends and that the task of the researcher is to bring into view and to unpack these hidden dimensions. Identifying such "hidden" features of classroom discourse can, then, help teachers and policy makers recognise important communicative features of classroom interaction that are missed when the focus is on "correctness", "definition", formal features of language and "lack of ambiguity", as in some curriculum documents and approaches.
Multilingual Matters, Frankfurt Lodge, Clevedon Hall, Victoria Road, Clevedon, UK BS21 7HH. Tel: +44 1275-876519; Fax: +44 1275-871673; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A