Influence Of Linguistic Challenges On Students' Academic Achievement In Junior Secondary School mathematics Lagos State, Nigeria

  • K. O Ajayi
  • A. O Lawani
  • A. T. Onabamiro
Keywords: Language; Learning of Mathematics; Challenges; Achievement; Mathematical Concepts


Language of instruction is very crucial to effective education at every level because linguistic difficulties have serious effects on children's ability to think, read and write effectively. Learning mathematics and the language of mathematics is a challenge for all students, but it is more challenging for students who have no opportunity to use the academic language outside the school. Thus, if better performance of African children is expected in tests of intellectual ability, the importance of Mathematics instruction in a language that is meaningful to the students cannot be over emphasized. This study adopted the descriptive survey research design with the target population of students in the public Junior Secondary Schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. A multi-stage sampling technique procedure was used to select ten schools and four hundred students for the study. The study employed an instrument titled Numerical Aptitude Test (NAT). Four research questions were answered. One of the findings revealed that based on the language used in asking questions, understanding of the topics were affected. As a result, it was suggested teachers should translate the ordinary and technical language in teaching mathematics. They should also support the development of the multi-semiotic mathematics register through oral language that moves from the everyday to the professional mode. Students should be encouraged to produce a formal and orderly expression of thought in mathematics classrooms; engage in robust give-and-take about the language through which word problems are constructed; practice writing mathematical concepts in authentic ways.