Improving the self-efficacy of math learners using a direct and focused approach to vocabulary clarification

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Prince, Brooke
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
Mathematics could be considered a language in itself, with numerous content-specific vocabulary and symbols. The language of mathematics must be explicitly taught through direct and focused instruction to promote the vocabulary development of students. The level of student self-efficacy in mathematics has been demonstrated to relate in a cyclical way to academic achievement; if one was to improve, so would the other. The purpose of this project was to explore connections between self-efficacy, vocabulary development, and student academic achievement. A self-efficacy questionnaire, Math and Me, was created that teachers could implement multiple times throughout a learning period. The results could be used to determine the growth of student self-efficacy after focused and direct instruction of vocabulary clarification. Use of the Collaborative Four-Square Frayer Model presented in this paper, in conjunction with the Vocabulary Instruction Implications for Teacher Practice guide, should increase student self-efficacy in math classes by providing resources to teachers that would aid in the instruction of mathematical vocabulary. To deepen student vocabulary knowledge, it would be essential for students to have experienced multiple and repeated opportunities for meaningful engagement with new mathematical vocabulary. Increases in student achievement have been linked separately to both increased vocabulary acquisition and increased levels of self-efficacy; the foundation of this project was built on the notion that a relationship must therefore exist between vocabulary knowledge and mathematical self-efficacy.
mathematical vocabulary , Frayer Model , vocabulary development , Collaborative Four-Square Frayer Model , Mathematics -- Terminology -- Study and Teaching , Mathematics -- Study and teaching , Self-efficacy , Mastery learning , Academic achievement , Language arts -- Correlation with content subjects , Mathematical readiness , Mathematical ability -- Testing