The impact of words in mathematics education – Case of symbols
Keywords:mathematics education, Multiple Representation, Sociocultural Perspective, words
The development of standardized forms of symbolic notation is a long and complicated process and the selection of symbolic notation is frequently based on factors other than merit. As multiple representations are common in math education, we examined a different representation of the symbol in mathematics education. In a teaching experiment, we investigated whether participants benefit from words instead of standard symbols and whether the different representation affects performance. For the teaching experiment, students were divided into two groups: the "word" group, and the "sign" group. We utilized words instead of the formal symbol in the "word" group and examined student's understanding and mathematics reasoning. Results indicate that the multiple symbolic representations (word instead of sign) are helpful. The study also indicates that some math symbols may mislead students. According to sociocultural perspectives and linguistic approaches, our study illustrates that using words instead of formal symbols improves student's understanding and reasoning and indicates that the use of words can block common errors made by students. This research emphasizes the importance of various forms of multiple representations in mathematics learning.