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By: Paul J. Riccomini

In: Response to Intervention in Math

Chapter 9: The Importance of Teaching Mathematical Vocabulary

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The Importance of Teaching Mathematical Vocabulary
The importance of teaching mathematical vocabulary

If students do not understand the language of instruction, they can't learn what is being taught.

Paul J.Riccomini, 2009 (personal quote)

On more than one occasion during math instruction as a high school self-contained special education teacher, we can remember asking students to define numerator and denominator. Some of the most common and, unfortunately, eye-opening answers from students were (a) “top number”, (b) “bottom number”, (c) “always 1”, and (d) “the top number is always smaller than the bottom number.” Although the numerator is the top number and the denominator is the bottom number and sometimes the top number is 1, none of these common responses were correct. Moreover, some students would just give examples such ...

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