Translanguaging to Persevere Is Key for Latinx Bilinguals' Mathematical Success
Keywords:exponential functions, Latinx multilingual learners, mathematics discourse, perseverance, translanguaging
Recent reform efforts state the importance of providing students with opportunities to persevere with challenging mathematics to make meaning. We posit translanguaging practice as a vital option by which Latinx bilingual students can sustain collective perseverance during problem solving. In this paper, we employ a constant-comparative overlay analysis to simultaneously study the discursive translanguaging and perseverance practices of Latinx bilingual students and the corresponding classroom supports. We observed collaborative problem solving in two classrooms of 12th-grade Latinx bilinguals working to make sense of an exponential function and the involvement of the same monolingual English-speaking teacher. Working within similar, supportive classroom environments, we describe how one group of students spontaneously and dialogically leveraged communicative resources to help persevere with in-the-moment obstacles, while another group of students worked together across languages but did not engage in a translanguaging mathematical practice to persevere. We suggest that only establishing a classroom environment conducive for translanguaging and perseverance practice is insufficient and that teachers should not solely rely on students spontaneously engaging in these practices. To complement this environment, we recommend specific teacher moves and scaffolds that could help Latinx bilingual students initiate collaborative translanguaging and support their ongoing perseverance to make meaning of mathematics.
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