Australian Vietnamese Students Learning Mathematics: High Ability Bilinguals and Their Use of Their Languages

Research paper by Philip C. Clarkson

Indexed on: 16 Nov '06Published on: 16 Nov '06Published in: Educational Studies in Mathematics


Bilingual students have, at times, been thought to be at a disadvantage in learning mathematics because of an assumed interference between their two languages. Earlier research, confirmed again in this study, shows that this is a naive view to take. Although some bilingual students do have a harder time, others seem to be at an advantage. This study explores the use that bilingual students who are succeeding in mathematics make of their two languages. These students seem to have better metalinguistics skills that allow them to self-correct when solving problems, and are perhaps more confident in their approach to solving difficult problems. It also appears that students in this study switched between languages in early years of schooling, but only used English by the time they were completing elementary school.