Role of Oral Language in Mathematics Learning: A Study of Bilingual Latine Families and Children
Susana Beltrán-Grimm

About the research


Equity in Math Education Research Grants

Award Year



Purdue University

Primary Discipline

Mathematics Education
This study will explore the intersection of mathematical language and cultural practices among U.S. Latine families with children in kindergarten. It addresses the gap in mathematics development research, which has primarily focused on the Minority World (westernized countries), neglecting the Majority World (countries with most of the world's population). The overrepresentation of World Minority participants biases knowledge, hindering generalizability to non-Western contexts (Henrich et al., 2010). Adopting a mixed-method approach within a qualitative framework, the project includes an ethnographic study complemented by the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) system. This approach aims to intricately map and analyze the language environments of Latine parent-child pairs. Central to this research is exploring how culturally specific language practices in bilingual Latine households shape their children's mathematics learning. It investigates the dynamics of bilingual language use and interaction patterns during math-related activities at home. To achieve a holistic understanding, the study employs ethnographic semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and LENA software, offering a rich, multi-dimensional view of these families' mathematical language and cultural practices. The expected outcomes include valuable insights into bilingual Latine families' distinctive language practices and pedagogical strategies. This will enhance our understanding of math learning in diverse cultural contexts and suggest ways to bridge the gap between mainstream and marginalized mathematical knowledge systems.
About Susana Beltrán-Grimm
Dr. Susana Beltrán-Grimm is a postdoctoral research associate in the Human Development and Family Science department at Purdue University, focusing on multidisciplinary approaches in developmental science to examine Latine families’ social and cultural contexts. Dr. Beltrán-Grimm holds an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in learning technologies from Pepperdine University. Her research focuses on asset-based approaches to examine the home math environment, explore children’s digital media and tools, identify Latine families’ social and cultural contexts, and center co-design approaches to promote equity in research methods. Dr. Beltrán-Grimm received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Latina/o/x Research Issues Group and has been honored with the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Early Career Transdisciplinary Fellowship. Dr. Beltrán-Grimm’s research has thrived both in applied settings, as the Early Learning Director for the PBS Station in Los Angeles, and in academic settings, acknowledging her dedication to advancing translational and transdisciplinary research that is deeply connected to community needs. Dr. Beltrán-Grimm is currently engaged in research in her native Mexico, working with the Indigenous Tsotsil families to explore math practices distinguished by cultural traditions, codes, and linguistic narratives. Dr. Beltrán-Grimm also works as an education consultant with several nonprofit organizations to translate research into effective and enduring evidence-based interventions and resources that are connected to the community and have a practical impact on children and families.

Pin It on Pinterest