SallyAnn Robertson proposal

Research Aims / Goals

The purpose of the research is to explore the nature of talk in the selected Grade 4 classrooms and to examine how talk is used to support learners’ numeracy development through the primary medium of a first additional language (English). It is important here to recognise that, because the learners are not yet proficient in their additional language, they are not yet able to simply use this language as a resource for learning; they are also in the actual process of acquiring it. Rather than viewing this transition period in deficit terms, however, a more positive view would be to see these children as ‘emergent bilinguals’ (Garcia & Kleifgen, 2010, p. 2), eminently capable of functioning in their home language while they are in the process of developing their proficiency in English.

The research questions are:

  • What is the nature of talk in the observed mathematics lessons?
  • What are the patterns of teacher-learner oral interactions in the observed lessons?
  • In what ways, if any, do the teachers use their learners’ emergent bilingualism?
  • What informs the participating teachers’ classroom talk practices during their mathematics lessons?
  • What do the participating teachers identify as enabling/ constraining factors in relation to teacher-learner oral interactions during mathematics lessons? 



Robertson, S-A., & Graven, M. (2017, July). Linguistic obstacles to second language learners’ access to mathematical talk for individualized sense-making. Short Communication presented at the 40th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) 2017. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Robertson+Graven - MERGA (2017) Linguistic obstacles

Robertson, S-A., & Graven, M. (2017, July). South African challenges to transitioning from ritual to explorative participation. (Oral Communication presented at the 41st Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), 2017. National Institute of Education, Singapore.) In B. Kaur, W. K. Ho, T. L. Toh, & B. H. Choy, B.H. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 1, p. 259. Singapore: PME. Robertson Graven - PME (2017) SAfn_Challenges_to_transitioning ...

Spira, M., & Robertson, S.-A. (2017). Chapter 7: Using an Adapted Model of Reciprocal Teaching to Help Children Unpack Their Word Sums. In M. H. Graven & H. Venkat (Eds.), Improving Primary Mathematics Education, Teaching and Learning Research for Development in Resource-Constrained Contexts. (pp. 97-113). Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan UK.


Robertson, S.-A. (2015). Seeking synergy: The need for research at the literacy numeracy interface. In D. Huillet (Ed.), 23rd Annual Meeting of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE): Mathematics, Science and Technology Education for Empowerment and Equity (pp. 185–196). Maputo, Mozambique: SAARMSTE.
SAARMSTE Seeking synergy presentation 2015



Last Modified: Thu, 03 Aug 2017 09:31:11 SAST