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%Z c: Teaching Strategies in Math for ESL Students
Instructional Techniques That Increase Comprehension of Concepts
HYPERLINK "http://www.suite101.com/daily.cfm/2009-09-23" 2009 HYPERLINK "http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/drwetzel" David R. Wetzel
Teaching strategies in math for English as second language (ESL) learners require a focus on the integration of concept vocabulary, along with proper academic grammatical structures. However, building mathematical concepts in these students brings increased comprehension when lessons focus on content rather than strictly on linguistic format. Math language acquisition takes place when lessons are presented in a meaningful manner, which are also understandable.
The teaching strategies which are more meaningful for ESL students include concrete objects, graphics, manipulatives, and math activities that clarify and reinforce concepts. The use of these strategies with well designed classroom management techniques, along with the following, help these students develop a better understanding of math.
Contextual Clues hands-on and visual support makes the language of math more comprehensible. For example, a lesson about fractions using manipulatives is more understandable, rather than explaining the concept.
Verbal Interaction providing ESL students with opportunities to work together to solve problems. They need to give and receive information, along with completing authentic tasks working together using English.
Active Participation requiring active involvement in math activities motivates ESL students, engages them in the learning process, and helps them remember content easier.
Classroom Management Strategies: Increasing Math Comprehension
Teaching strategies, aligned with the following classroom management strategies, are designed to increase mathematics comprehension for ESL students and ease the learning process.
Follow predictable routines as much as possible, which allow students to spend more time focusing on content rather than their behavior.
Use consistent lesson and assignment formats.
Use legible writing techniques and print, do not use cursive.
Demonstrate an appreciation for ESL student cultures and allow them to share connections with math concepts using items from their culture. However, always require the use of the English for describing the item.
Allow ESL students more time to process questions, answers, and assignments.
Invest in a mathematics picture dictionary of terms and concepts.
English as a Second Language: Integrating English within Math Content
The integration of the English language within math content is essential for assisting ESL students to develop a good understanding of mathematics. The following are 17 examples of teaching strategies and instructional techniques for integrating English and math lessons.
Teach mathematical vocabulary and language structures daily.
Post math vocabulary cards around the classroom on completed problems, number lines, rulers, fraction diagrams, and other objects.
Model the problem solving process by talking aloud while solving problems on the overhead, chalkboard, or interactive white board to demonstrate thinking processes.
Use math Cloze exercises or sentence prompts for students to copy and complete when they enter class or during reviews.
Give students a computation problem to solve and then have them write the steps they used to solve it in complete English sentences.
Design multi-sensory lessons that address various student learning styles, i.e., visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.
Use visuals whenever possible to reinforce auditory instruction, i.e., charts, graphs, manipulatives, diagrams, models, real objects.
Provide explicit instructions and practice with reading and writing word problems. Teach students to identify key words for HYPERLINK "http://homeschooling.suite101.com/article.cfm/12_tips_for_solving_word_problems" solving word problems and identifying mathematical operations.
Use graphic organizers to visually represent mathematical concepts.
Simplify the language used rather than the mathematical concepts taught by using known vocabulary and simple sentence constructions.
When ESL students speak, focus on their message rather than their grammatical skills and accuracy. Respond using the proper grammatical form rather than overtly correcting their mistakes.
Integrate reading and writing about math through the use of HYPERLINK "http://curriculalessons.suite101.com/article.cfm/mathematics_teaching_using_journals" journals, learning logs, and literature.
Give ESL students alternate ways to participate in whole-class discussions and respond to questions, i.e., think/pair/share, flashcards to raise over head, hand and/or body movements, individual chalkboards for solving computations.
Integrate hands-on activities by using manipulatives, real life materials, and calculators.
Integrate educational technology tools, i.e., Web 2.0 online tools, interactive math websites, and interactive computer games.
Teach math note-taking skills, because copying notes is an effective way for learning English writing conventions.
Review mathematical vocabulary and concepts using HYPERLINK "http://teachertipstraining.suite101.com/article.cfm/four_math_games_for_elementary_school_students" math games, examples include Tic-Tac-Toe, bingo, and concentration.
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