Developing mathematical vocabulary

This study investigates the effects of two methods of instruction, implicit and explicit, on student understanding of mathematical vocabulary. Explicit vocabulary instruction involves carefully planned instruction that incorporates a variety of teaching strategies that allow students to interact with the vocabulary in many forms. These strategies included math journals, graphic organizers, children's literature books, word wall, and mathematics games. Implicit vocabulary instruction requires students to take on most of the responsibility of learning the new information. Most often students copy and memorize definitions for terms. Because many students move from one grade level to the next never really learning or using correct mathematical vocabulary, mathematics vocabulary instruction has become a focus in many classrooms. For this study, students received two methods of instruction, implicit and explicit, in hopes of determining if one method is more effective in the teaching of mathematical vocabulary. Post intervention data showed an increase in understanding and use of mathematical vocabulary for both methods. It also indicated that neither the implicit method nor the explicit method was more effective in teaching mathematical vocabulary. Keywords: mathematics, mathematical vocabulary, implicit and explicit vocabulary instruction