Table of Contents

Unit 1: Teaching and Learning the Standards for Mathematical Practice

1.3.3 Supporting English Learners

In order to ensure equity in the mathematics classroom, English Language Development (ELD) approaches must be considered. The CCSS for Mathematics speaks to teaching mathematics for understanding. Part of this understanding is embedded in language proficiency for mathematics.

California has revised and updated its English Language Development Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve . The overview of the document prioritizes meaning and interacting over language structure. Language is emphasized as “a complex and social meaning-making resource to be fostered via intellectually challenging, interactive, and dialogue-rich contexts focused on content knowledge and linguistic development” (p.18).

ELs must have full access to high-quality English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies content, as well as other subjects, at the same time (emphasis added) as they are progressing through the ELD level continuum ”

English Language Development Standards
for California Public Schools:
Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, p.14

Time to Read

Understanding Language is an initiative at Stanford University that focuses on heightening awareness of the language and literacy issues embedded within the new standards. Moschkovich is part of the leadership team for this initiative and in the publication, "Mathematics, the Common Core, and Language: Recommendations for Mathematics Instruction for ELs Aligned with the Common Core," she presents principles to guide educators in supporting reasoning and sense-making of mathematics for students learning English.

Select the links below to read more on each principle:

  1. Focus on students’ mathematical reasoning, not accuracy, in using language.
  2. Shift to a focus on mathematical discourse practices; move away from simplified views of language.
  3. Recognize and support students to engage with the complexity of language in mathematics classrooms.
  4. Treat everyday language and experiences as resources, not as obstacles.
  5. Uncover the mathematics in what students say and do.

Using the above principles as guides, the standards may be implemented in ways that all students achieve and are equipped to meet the challenges of learning mathematics.

Time to View

View Moschkovich's video on teaching mathematics for conceptual understanding with English learners.

Time to Extend

To expand your learning on meeting the needs of English learners: