The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
Welsh-medium education has attracted increased attention over the past 50 years. Much research has been conducted in secondary and higher education contexts, including the teaching and learning of mathematics in Welsh. However, there is a gap in research which explores the topic of Welsh-medium mathematics tuition in a distance learning context. Moreover, there is a lack of consideration in the literature of the experiences of older adult (i.e. aged 25+) learners.
The research question for this project is: “What are the factors which affect student engagement in a bilingual Welsh/English mathematics distance-learning context?”
For many students, MU123 Discovering Mathematics will be the first OU module they study as part of a range of different study intentions. Some students approach MU123 with a degree of apprehension about their mathematical ability. We are particularly interested in exploring whether offering bilingual tutorial sessions, tutor support and a Welsh-language forum is a factor in student engagement on MU123.
It is anticipated that Welsh is the first language of some students, and that many may have had experience of Welsh-medium tuition at school. In addition, it is expected that some of the increasing number of Welsh learners across the UK may also be interested in Welsh-medium tuition as a means of improving their language proficiency and situating their language learning in an immersive, real-life context. This project will seek to explore the experiences of the broad range of Welsh competencies that we assume to exist amongst MU123 students. For this reason we have chosen a translanguaging approach to bilingual tuition (see Rationale), in order to allow speakers of all levels of fluency to participate.
It is expected that the findings of this project will help increase understanding of the factors surrounding student engagement in bilingual distance-learning contexts, on MU123 in future presentations, and for Level 1 study in STEM subjects more generally.