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Teaching Math to Second Language Learners

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Hi everyone,

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Teachers
want to include the instructional strategies that will increase
comprehension in second language learners. Here is a list compiled by Virginia Department of Education Division of Instruction back in 2004. These are tried and true methods that still hold true today.

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Integrate the four language modes (listening, speaking, reading, writing) into mathematics class.

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Model
the process. Talk aloud while solving problems on the overhead or
chalkboard to show the thinking process and common errors.

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Have students explain their thinking process aloud to a classmate while solving a problem.

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Integrate reading and writing through the use of journals, learning logs, poems, literature, etc.

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Give
explicit instruction and practice in reading and writing word problems.
Teach students to identify key words in word problems that indicate a
certain mathematical operation.

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Begin class with warm-up activities using mathematical language to give students practice in sentence construction.

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Write
a cloze exercise (a short paragraph with key words missing) or sentence
starters (i.e., Perimeter is the…) on the board for students to copy
and complete when they enter class.

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Give students a computation problem to solve, and then have them write the steps they used to solve it in complete sentences.

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Post
labels and vocabulary cards around the classroom on completed word
problems, number lines, rulers, fraction diagrams, and/or objects in the
class.

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Have students paraphrase and write complex concepts in their own words (individually, pairs, or whole class).

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Review mathematical vocabulary and concepts using games such as TIC TAC TOE, BINGO, Concentration, Charades, etc.

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Use a variety of modes of instruction

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Design multi-sensory lessons (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic).

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Use
visuals whenever possible to reinforce auditory instruction (i.e.,
charts, graphs, manipulatives, diagrams, models, real objects).

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Use graphic organizers to visually represent mathematical concepts.

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Design hands-on activities.

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Vary groupings throughout the lesson (i.e., independent work, pair work, small groups, whole class).

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Use real-life problem-solving situations to teach new concepts.

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Make interdisciplinary connections whenever possible.

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Happy Teaching!

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