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The Construction of the Social Context of Mathematics Classrooms: A Sociolinguistic Analysis

Bill Atweh, Robert E. Bleicher, Tom J. Cooper 

January 1998, Volume 29, Issue 1, Page 63

Abstract:
This study employed sociolinguistic perspectives developed by Michael Halliday to investigate the social context of two mathematics classrooms that differed in the socioeconomic backgrounds and genders of their students. Our analysis focused on the effects of these two factors on teacher perceptions of student needs and abilities and on how these perceptions shaped the discourse in the classroom. We argue that as mathematical knowledge is being constructed in the classroom, the student participants are being constructed by the teachers according to their ability in and need for different dialects of mathematics that have different values in our Western culture.