ERIC Number: ED404166
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Oct-24
Reference Count: N/A
The Effects of a Communicative Approach on the Mathematical Problem Solving Proficiency of Language Minority Students.
Kaplan, Rochelle G.; Patino, Rodrigo A.
Although it takes only 2 years to attain conversational competence in a second language, it takes up to 7 years to realize sufficient language competence to achieve academically at the level of native speakers. Specific adaptations in instructional methods in mathematics for language minority students should include techniques from English as a second language or bilingual education and those of current practices in mathematics education focusing on communication. This paper describes a method for teaching mathematical problem solving for use with students with limited English proficiency. The instructional method is based on ethnographic examination of techniques used in teaching mathematics to a sixth grade Spanish/English bilingual class of 30 students with a wide range of English competence. The five key components of the method are: (1) provide a linguistic warm-up to the problem; (2) break down the problem into natural grammatical phrases; (3) students work out the problem in pairs; (4) students present their own solutions to the group; and (5) students create problems with similar structures. Study results indicated that students became more successful independent mathematical problem solvers. Appendices contain a description of classroom procedure, a sample word problem broken down into natural grammatical phrases, and scoring criteria for pretests and posttests. (PVD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A