How specific can language as resource become for the teaching of algebraic concepts?

Núria Planas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Classroom research into mathematics and language has studied issues of context specificity such as cultures of explanation or the impact of language policies on practice. More recently, researchers in the domain have started to study issues of content specificity aimed at performing language-responsive mathematics teaching for the learning of precise mathematical content. Progress in the conceptualization of language as resource for mathematics teaching and learning makes it necessary to strengthen the discussion of the contexts of culture and interaction along with the linguistic demands given by the specificity of the mathematical content at play. In this paper, I introduce a sociocultural framing for a mathematical-linguistic view of grammar as resource with the focus on explicitness in communication. I then report developmental work with two teachers on their teaching of algebraic concepts, and address the question of how to learn to communicate explicit meanings for these concepts in classroom mathematical talk. The structuring principle adopted for this work was to critically distinguish and choose or produce instances of teacher talk that overtly communicated conceptual meaning within the algebra of equations. I conclude with preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of the work with the teachers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalZentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik (Berlin. Print)
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Algebra of equations
  • Classroom teacher talk
  • Content specificity
  • Explicitness in communication
  • Mathematics teacher professional development


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