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Spatial Metaphors of the Number Line

By Cris Edmonds-Wathen

Abstract

This paper examines spatial metaphors in the English language associated with the number line, in particular metaphors of direction and motion, and how these are manifested in actual spatial practices associated with number. It considers how these metaphors are culturally influenced, and how the influences of other cultures, such as Arabic, produce inconsistencies that can contribute to confusion in the classroom. It also considers how the metaphors of number vary in some other languages, and how this leads to both different spatial representations of numbers and more challenges in multilingual and multicultural classrooms. In particular, it pays attention to the implications of variety in these metaphors for the mathematics education of Indigenous students in Australia being taught by English speaking teacher

Publisher: MERGA
Year: 2012
OAI identifier: oai:espace.cdu.edu.au:cdu:44508
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