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Exploring Teachers’ Language Use in CLIL Mathematics Instruction

Chin-An Hsieh
National Taichung University of Education, Taichung, Taiwan


Teaching mathematics through Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is challenging for teachers, as they often struggle with using everyday language and mathematical language effectively to construct mathematical knowledge. To address the need for supporting CLIL mathematics instruction, this study investigates teacher’s language use in a fifth-grade CLIL mathematics class and especially focuses on the scaffolding of vocabulary in mathematics. The research question guiding this study is: (1) What are the characteristics and functions of the teacher’s language use? and (2) How does the teacher perceive the roles of language in CLIL mathematics instruction? This study uses qualitative research methods. Multiple sources of data were collected, including classroom observation for two semesters, interviews with the teacher and students, student work samples, and the researcher’s field notes. The data were analyzed inductively by using layers of coding, theme identification, and interrelating themes. The finding shows that the teacher regularly and strategically shifts his use of mathematical vocabulary, sub-technical vocabulary, general vocabulary, and symbolic vocabulary. In addition, inviting students to speak out about the process of mathematical operations could support students constructing mathematical knowledge. This study contributes to research and practice of CLIL mathematics education by providing empirical information about teacher’s language use and classroom discourse. Implications for CLIL mathematics pedagogical strategies and teacher professional development will be discussed.


Content and Language Integrated Learning, mathematics, language use, elementary school

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023