TEACHING MATH TOENGLISH LANGUAGELEARNERSCindy Smith, Mathematics CoachGSSDReferences: Teachers guide created by the SHSU MELLGroup, November 2005, in collaboration with the TexasState University System and the Texas Education Agency.Suggested supports and Accommodations for EALstudents in Middle Years and Secondary Classrooms, CarolMcCullough, CALPLANGUAGE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION: A D OUBLEJEOPARDY FOR SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERSKgomotso Gertrude Garegae University of Botswanagaregaek@mopipi.ub.bwWhat Works? ESL in the Mathematics Classroom.Research into practice. Ontario Education, July 2008,
Mathematics is a language• Math is a new language for all learners.• There are many words that we use that have similar meanings in conversational English, like “reduce” or “similar”• Some words have completely different meanings than they do in conversational English, like “product”, or “function”• Some words are specific to mathematics: “Numerator” or “exponent”• It usually takes an EAL learner more than one year to develop conversational language and five to seven years to develop sufficient academic language to learn in English• Canadian students already struggle with the symbol rich language of mathematics, but have been exposed to some of the language; EAL learners are learning the language of instruction and the content simultaneously
Variation in instructional strategies and topics• Mathematics curriculum in other countries is sequenced in a different manner• Calculation may be emphasized more than concept understanding, so they may be reluctant to show work• Mathematics curriculum is not spiral in many countries, andstudents may understand number operations, but geometryconcepts may be new ideas to some students• . Many EALLs have not seen or worked with manipulatives, and theymay not take the lesson seriously• Estimating skills may not have been previously emphasized.
Symbolism may be different• Division can be a colon, they may use commas for decimals, etc.• http://www.enchantedlearning.com/math/symbols/
Vocabulary• Biggest barrier for EAL students• Need lots of opportunities to dialogue• Use of visual accessible words in the classroom, such as a word wall• Study of words; Frayer model, Venn diagrams• Categorizing of words, concept attainment• http://oame.on.ca/main/files/thinklit/FrayerModel.pdf
Classroom Support• A classroom where students are free to discuss, debate, and collaborate supports English Language Learners• Encourage students to relate word problems to their own experiences• Use a buddy system, enlist the help of students
Classroom Strategies• Establish an emotionally safe where students feel comfortable taking risks• Help students set realistic goals• Involve students in decisions• Make consistent classroom routines• Focus on communication, not errors. Don’t allow other students to correct errors• Use clusters of desks, not rows, if possible• Involve family in school experiences/learning• Add colour coded learning supports• Use models, gallery walks, concept maps• Display student work
• Speak slowly and clearly, try to face students (some EALLs lip read)• Model correct language, avoid slang• Check for comprehension, restate when necessary• Provide longer wait time when questioning• Be encouraging• Provide resources: texts, technology, manipulatives• Highlight essential information• Focus on pictures in textbook before text, allow students a partner to discuss text with, point to key phrases and read captions out loud.• Help make connections between what they are learning and their own experiences• Print rather than write, highlight key words