January 22, 2021 YSBO-Admin

Strategies to Engage English Language Learners in Math

Save Time by Being Proactive

First, thank you for reading this. I know how busy educators are–I was a teacher for 25 years and an administrator for eight. It was rewarding and also very stressful. As a professor, it has been stressful making all the challenges during this pandemic, so I can imagine how challenging it can be for teachers to meet the needs of English language learners (ELs).

The strategies here are designed to save teachers time. There has been lots of PD lately to train teachers to use technology, BUT very little on how to meet the needs of ELs. The goal is to save you time. That may sound crazy, but when we are more prepared, we have fewer problems to solve and it is more rewarding. Thus, you will learn valuable strategies that not many educators know are even aware of about meeting the needs of ELs in math.

If you Google “Math ELLs” my name comes up on the top. I share this with you because you are receiving information that not many know.

Taken from Unsplash.com

Of course, we have to be careful with stereotypes because many ELs are excelling at math, but others are not. It is not that ELLs are not capable, they are, but as you know, there are so many challenges right now. ELs are twice as likely to be affected by poverty. Teachers are over-worked and many do not know how to meet the needs of ELs—especially in math.

We will learn four tools for meeting the needs of ELs in math: boosting math mindsets; providing access; developing language; and engaging in productive struggle.

So, kudos for being prepared and reading this. It gets better. If we are proactive with our students, it makes math more enjoyable. In other words, you will learn strategies to engage ELs so you don’t have to remedial work later, which will save you time. In fact, that will also boost ELs’ math mindsets. That will be our next tool.