Mathematical modelling is a part of mathematical thinking. It consists of several phases: the problem has to be conceptualized, mathematized and interpreted. In each of these phases language skills play a fundamental role and often constitute an obstacle for the learner as well.The ability to translate problems back and forth between reality and mathematics strongly depends on the language proficiency of students. Other language skills are important in the conceptualizing and interpreting phases. In each of these phases several levels of abstraction can be discerned.
In this research we investigate the specific language problems occurring in the different phases of mathematical modelling. We will focus on collaborative learning to achieve level-raising. We will develop level-raising group assignments for learners from 11 up to 15 years.
Finally, in a quasi-experimental study, we explore the effect of collaborative learning on increasing language proficiency and its effect on the mathematical modelling performance of learners from 11 up to 15 years.
This research is part of an NWO PhD scholarship for teachers.