An Investigation into Some Lexical Ambiguities in Algebra: South African Experience

Emmanuel O. Adu, Olabisi Olaoye


Many scholars in the field of mathematics education have written a lot about algebra. They commented that the simple and consistent rules for using abstract numbers and the shorthand symbols for mathematical verbs and operators in algebra evolved very slowly. Therefore, this study has revealed some of the lexical ambiguities in algebra aspect of mathematics. These ambiguities include among others; word problem in algebra, fallacies and hitches of word problem in algebra, linguistic complexity in algebra, proficiency in language of instruction problem just to mention but a few. The model for conceptualizing algebraic activity was no left behind. The study however recommends among others that there should be a paradigm shift in the method of teaching algebra and mathematics as a subject so as to enhance students’ academic performance. The choice of methodology especially the student-centred methods (contemporary methods of teaching) are very pertinent at this stage since researches have shown that many students have phobia for mathematics. Hence, there is need for teachers to update their knowledge about the problem solving skills that can be used as a panacea to mathematics phobia and algebra ambiguities.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1243

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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