Teaching the math vocabulary is a must according to numerous research studies if you want your students to excel in mathematics. Unfortunately, few school teachers use effective vocabulary instruction in their math lessons. “Students may excel in computation but their ability to apply their skills will suffer if they do not understand the math vocabulary used in instructions and story problems” (Brun, Faye; Diaz, Joan M.; Dykes, Valerie J.2015).
Another study recommends that students learn best when the definitions of words are appropriate to the age level. “Teachers should provide student friendly explanations of the word rather than dictionary definitions.” (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan 2002)
Research also supports that the vocabulary that they will need as the concept is being taught needs to be understood before the teacher gets to that point. “Pre-teaching vocabulary in the mathematics classroom removes cognitive barriers that prevent children from grasping new content. When taught only at point-of-use, vocabulary words are often lost or misunderstood (Chad, David)
So here are some recommendations of how this should be done to reach the most effective way of learning the math vocabulary:
1. Pre-teach mathematics vocabulary.
2. Model vocabulary when teaching new concepts.
3. Use appropriate labels clearly and consistently.
4. Integrate vocabulary knowledge in assessments.