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MIAA 340 Running Reflection January 14, 2014

My English Language Learners do fine in math. Math is a universal language.



Hmm.reallyyour English Language Learners do fine in math? How do you know? What assessments are
you using to prove that point? Are the mathematical questions you pose to your ELs formatted in such a way
that they truly understand and comprehend the question? Ive found that over the past 9 years, most of my ELs
get stuck on the language in a word problem, or in journal writing and then cant focus on the skill, concept,
problem solving, and critical thinking required to get a solution. It is my feeling that Math has its very own
unique language and it is important that we teach it as such. Just as we teach our ELs in language arts, it is good
teaching practice to do the same in math. All of our students, including our ELs must understand the vocabulary
and structure of a math problem before they can truly understand it and even begin to solve it.

After tonights class and discussion Ive learned that not only do I have to teach vocabulary, but I must also
teach my students (with an emphasis on my ELs) how to analyze word problems by breaking them down to the
who and the what of the problem and incorporate the math and the representation of the
concepts/contentmaking connections. It has also occurred to me that I must make sure that my math lessons
not only include the algorithms and skills, etc., but they must also include opportunities for my students
(especially the ELs) to use their writing and reading and speaking and listening skills. I had never really thought
about the importance of connecting math lessons to language lessons and through that teaching my students
how to analyze a math problem. This is definitely something I need to begin implementing and weaving into my
math lessons. Im actually thinking I might incorporate a lesson similar to the The Three Sisters lesson into
my Language Development curriculum.

Walqui and vanLier (2010) stated how the language in our math lessons needs to be amplified not
simplified.

To me, the above statement means that we, as teachers, cant hold back the language and vocabulary of math.
We must embrace it and teach it, and must expect our students to learn it and use it as well. We must hold
ourselves, and our students accountable for using the language of math. For example, when speaking of
fractions, we must use the vocabulary of numerator and denominator instead of the top number and bottom
number. This is a rather simple example, but I think you know what I mean. In the end, it is all about using the
language, the vocabulary of math, and giving our students the opportunities to use it in all modalities (writing,
reading, speaking, listening).