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J Genet Psychol. 2005 Mar;166(1):117-28.

The effects of stating problems in bilingual students' first and second languages on solving mathematical word problems.

Author information

1
College of Education, De La Salle University-Manila, Philippines. bernardoa@dlsu.edu.ph

Abstract

Researchers have suggested that among bilinguals, solving word problems in mathematics is influenced by linguistic factors (K. Durkin & B. Shire, 1991; L. Verschaffel, B. Greer, & E. De Corte, 2000). Others have suggested that students exhibit a strong tendency to exclude real-world constraints in solving mathematics word problems (L. Verschaffel, E. De Corte, & S. Lasure, 1994). In the present study, the authors explored the effects of stating word problems in either Filipino or English on how Filipino-English bilingual students solved word problems in which the solution required the application of real-world knowledge. The authors asked bilingual students to solve word problems in either their first or second language. For some of the word problems, real-life constraints prevented straightforward application of mathematical procedures. The authors analyzed the students' solutions to determine whether the language of the word problems affected the tendency to apply real-life constraints in the solution. Results showed that the bilingual students (a) rarely considered real-life constraints in their solutions, (b) were more successful in understanding and solving word problems that were stated in their first language, and (c) were more likely to experience failure in finding a solution to problems stated in their second language. The results are discussed in terms of the relationship between linguistic and mathematical problem-solving processes among bilinguals.

PMID:
15782681
DOI:
10.3200/GNTP.166.1.117-129
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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