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ERIC Number: EJ856295
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-1085-3545
Supporting English Language Learners' Development of Mathematical Literacy
Roberts, Sarah A.
Democracy & Education, v18 n3 p29-36 2009
In an increasingly technological economy, in order to participate, individuals have to be mathematically literate, which means they must have opportunities to learn mathematics. However, access to mathematics has not always been universal. Traditionally, mathematics classrooms have been places where only a small, select group of individuals, who are generally White and middle- or upper-class, has found success. Society, industry, educators, and others all too often have seen these individuals as some of the few with natural mathematics ability. This has left a majority of students, most notably students of color, those from lower-income households, and students who are English language learners (ELLs), with limited access to mathematical attainment. Quite often students who are not in the upper echelon of mathematics classes are faced with the drilling of basic skills in lieu of the development of higher order thinking skills. As a result, these students are often relegated to lower-level mathematics courses with lower academic expectations, which can limit their future academic access and potential. Supporting ELLs in today's schools is increasingly important, especially since one out of every ten students in the United States is an ELL. While, "most ELLs are at risk for poor school outcomes not only because of language, but also because of socioeconomic factors," language should not be a barrier to high quality mathematics instruction and the opportunity for ELLs to be successful in mathematics classrooms. Research in mathematics education provides some direction for how to support ELLs in developing mathematical literacy. Using the literature as a guide, this article explores three strategies for supporting ELLs: (1) developing mathematics discourse practices; (2) using multiple modes of communication; and (3) building on and valuing students' backgrounds. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
IES Cited: ED559979