Texas Comprehensive Center

Previous Work
October 2005 through September 2012

These resources were published under a previous TXCC funding; therefore, information contained therein may have changed and is not updated.

English Language Learners Materials

What Can a Mathematics Teacher Do for the English Language Learner?


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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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