Loughborough University
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Improving English language skills through learning Mathematic contents: From the expertise reversal effect perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-11, 13:33 authored by Dayu Jiang, Ouhao Chen, Yiyi Han, Slava Kalyuga

Background: Previous research in the field of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) has not yet comprehensively investigated the interaction between learners' expertise and the instructional effectiveness.

Aims: Taking cognitive load theory as the theoretical framework, a study was conducted to investigate the expertise reversal effect on learning English and mathematics simultaneously: whether an integrated approach (i.e. learning both English and mathematics simultaneously) could facilitate the acquisition of mathematic skills and English linguistic skills as a foreign language more effectively and efficiently than a separated learning approach (i.e. learning Mathematics and English separately).

Materials: The materials for the integrated learning approach were in English-only, and the materials for the separated learning approach were in English-and-Chinese. Both sets of materials were given as reading content for teaching mathematic skills and English as a foreign language.

Methods: The study adopted a 2 (language expertise: low vs. high) × 2 (instruction: integrated vs. separated) between-subject factorial design with instructional approaches and learners' expertise in English as independent variables, the learning performance in Mathematics and English with the cognitive load ratings as the dependent variables. Sixty-five Year-10 students with lower expertise in English and 56 Year-2 college students with higher expertise in English in China were recruited and allocated to two instructional conditions respectively.

Results: An expertise reversal effect was confirmed: the English and mathematics integrated learning approach was more effective for higher expertise learners while the English and mathematics separated learning condition was more beneficial for lower expertise learners.


Leverhulme Trust, Grant/Award Number: VP2-2021-006



  • Science


  • Mathematics Education Centre

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British Journal of Educational Psychology










  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© British Psychological Society

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jiang, D., Chen, O., Han, Y., & Kalyuga, S. (2023). Improving English language skills through learning Mathematic contents: From the expertise reversal effect perspective. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(Suppl. 2), 386–401. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12596, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12596. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

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Dr Ouhao Chen. Deposit date: 24 March 2023

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