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ERIC Number: EJ759535
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul-13
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Math: The Not-So-Universal Language
Cavanagh, Sean
Education Week, v24 n42 p1, 22 Jul 2005
While math has long been regarded as a universal language because of its foundation in numbers, the subject poses nearly as many hurdles for students with limited English as lessons that rely more heavily on reading, many educators say. Malinda Evans spends about an hour and a half each day teaching mathematics to her 5th graders at Navajo Elementary School in the working-class South Valley neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Whether the topic is basic division, geometry, or word problems, it is invariably also a lesson in the English language, which vexes many of her pupils more than any single equation ever could. Spanish is the first language for more than half of Ms. Evans' students. As she and other teachers working with similar students have come to understand, translating the arcane terminology of math for English-language learners can be daunting. This article discusses the "call for commitment" that a number of influential math organizations have proposed to help English-language learners. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, for example, organized its annual meeting around the issue of diversity, particularly as it relates to improving the skills of poor, minority, and other students who may be disadvantaged.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico