Mathematics vocabulary development utilising graphic organisers : An action research study with grade 5 students in a private school, in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


This study investigated the mathematics vocabulary development of Grade 5 students by designing vocabulary instructions, utilising Graphic Organizers (GOs) as an instructional tool. In order to achieve this objective, an exploratory action research was conducted within the qualitative paradigm in a private school in Karachi, Pakistan. The data collection tools used in the study were: a semi-structured interview with the mathematics teacher, pre and post-teaching task-based interviews with the participating students, classroom observations, analysing students’ work sample, and reflective journal maintained by the researcher. The study was conducted in three action research cycles in which I (researcher) taught eight vocabulary lessons based on the first three basic operations on numbers. Finding one showed that the designed mathematics vocabulary instructions changed learners’ problem solving behaviour. Initially, they would merely carry out an arithmetic operation apparently related to key words in the text. However, they gradually started to first, comprehend technical, sub-technical and generic vocabulary stated in the problems; then decided which arithmetic operation would be appropriate in the given situation. Finding two indicated that the use of Graphic Organisers during the vocabulary lessons facilitated the students to enrich their vocabulary knowledge. Finding three revealed that with the improved mathematics language and literacy skills, the students enhanced their conceptual understanding of basic operations on numbers and their multiple representations. This study can help mathematics teachers and educators to design explicit vocabulary instructions as part of their routine teaching and to facilitate learners in acquiring mathematics literacy skills and internalising the language of mathematical problems. Also, the GOs adopted and constructed during the intervention of the study can be used and experimented by teachers, educators and researchers for further studies.

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