ADVANCING RESEARCH, IMPROVING EDUCATION
What Can a Mathematics Teacher Do for the English Language Learner?
Typical Characteristics of the Intermediate Language Learner
- Hesitation as students think of appropriate words when participating in conversations
- Uses a limited vocabulary to speak in detail
- Communicates best through use of familiar high-frequency words and phrases
- Asks for clarification often
- Makes literal interpretations
- Writes limited, short, simple sentences with few details
- Clarifies meaning through native language
- Uses simple sentences with only the present tense when explaining a past event
- Increasingly developing academic language ability
(Adapted from Jameson, 1998; Texas Education Agency, 2006b.)
Some Suggested Strategies (in addition to those introduced for beginning students)
- Continue to make lessons comprehensible and interactive.
- Focus content on key concepts while using language skills.
- Use performance-based assessment.
- Model correct open-ended responses.
- Provide structured response stems, such as “the slope of the results in this graph indicates ______.”
- Continue to use graphic organizers such as charts, tables, graphs related to math content, and other conceptual visual aids. Examples: Frayer Model, Bubble map, Venn Diagram, and other strategies identified in previous level as needed to support the learner and provide opportunities for success.
- Model appropriate grammar and usage using compound sentence structure.
- Use cloze passage with work bank. Example: Eight is a _________ number, but five is a _______ (prime, composite) number.
- Paraphrase word problems.
- Use Cornell notes.
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