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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

SETATI, Mamokgethi. Access to mathematics versus access to the language of power: the struggle in multilingual mathematics classrooms. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.1, pp. 103-116. ISSN 0256-0100.

In this article I explore how teachers and learners position themselves in relation to use of language(s) in multilingual mathematics classrooms. I draw from two studies in multilingual mathematics classrooms in South Africa. The analysis presented shows that teachers and learners who position themselves in relation to English are concerned with access to social goods and positioned by the social and economic power of English. They do not focus on epistemological access but argue for English as the language of learning and teaching. In contrast, learners who position themselves in relation to mathematics and so epistemological access, reflect more contradictory discourses, including support for the use of the their home languages as languages of learning and teaching.

Keywords : access to mathematics; language of power; multilingual; Setswana.

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