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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674


HENNING, Elizabeth. South African research in mathematical cognition and language in childhood: Towards an expanded theoretical framework. SAJCE [online]. 2013, vol.3, n.2, pp.56-76. ISSN 2223-7682.

The article proposes that cognitive developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience theory need to feature more prominently in the theoretical frameworks for South African research on language in mathematics learning in the early years of school. I argue that, considering the state of mathematics learning in the foundation phase and the conundrum around the language of learning and teaching debate in the country, we need more integrated theoretical work for equally integrated analyses of learners and learning, moving beyond the practice of drawing from mostly single theories, such as bilingual education theory, or sociocultural theory. The article explains the reasoning behind the proposition for an expansion of the theoretical work in this field, claiming that policy decisions about language of learning and teaching depend on empirical research that includes theories from the cognitive sciences as framework.

Keywords : theoretical framework; mathematics education research; language and conceptual development; mathematical cognition; conceptual development; South African education; language in mathematics learning; educational neuroscience.

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