The language barrier education in Africa: The challenge of learning and teaching mathematics in a second language

  • J Ibe
  • K Ekpo
  • O Akpan
  • UE Uyoata


The issues relating to language of instruction, mathematical language and interaction with mathematics education have remained unresolved. The interaction between these variables have attracted research understandings in recent years. This paper reports a study of the level of understanding of mathematical terms and vocabularies and the relationship with students’ achievement in mathematics results show that students did not understand the mathematical terms and expressions of the contents of mathematics tested. Although students’ achievement was poor and positively related to exposure, the relationship between mathematical language ability and achievement was higher while a call was made to teachers to be aware of the linguistic difficulties of their students, it was recommended that mathematical language be built into language lesson and conversely, language be taught in mathematics lessons.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0855-4706