Norms of Practices and Pre-service Teacher Education for Multilingual Mathematics Classrooms in South Africa

  • Anthony A. EssienEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education Yearbook book series (MEYB)


In any (mathematics) classroom, there are norms, whether explicit or implicit, that guide social interactions and classroom practice in general. In multilingual classrooms, such as the ones in South Africa where students come to school with varying levels of proficiency in both their home languages and English (the language of teaching and learning), the types of norms that are constituted in class determine the nature of student participation in mathematical activities. This chapter investigates the norms of practice that are prevalent in three mathematics teacher education classrooms and how these norms co-construct the classroom community. Data were collected through classroom observations of three teacher education classrooms at two Universities in South Africa. The data were qualitatively analysed using Wenger’s notion of participation and relating this notion to three types of norms: conversational, conceptual, and interpersonal norms. Findings revealed that the nature of norms in each of the three classrooms prepared the pre-service teachers differentially for teaching in multilingual classrooms. Recommendations are made for teacher education multilingual classrooms.


Norms of practice Teacher education Discourse Participation Language diversity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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