How do students learn two very different subjects? In order to investigate students ’ learning in mathematics and Language 1, upper secondary school students were interviewed. Their stories, created the background for the analysis which revealed varying degrees of inclusion in the two disciplinary discourses. The students explained their learning differently. The successful ones used the disciplines ’ speci fi c languages, displayed disciplinary understanding, insight and a meta-awareness. This was however, absent in the less successful students ’ stories. The study reveals that students ’ participation in a subject ’ s discourse is crucial in order to learn the subject. As a conclusion it is argued that today ’ s focus on basic skills may obscure rather than solve the problems for those not included in subjects ’ different disciplinary discourses.
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