In New York City, EDC is providing professional development to educators to improve mathematics instruction for English-language learners (ELLs) in middle schools.
During monthly professional development sessions, teams of educators tackle challenging mathematics problems, which they then bring back to their schools to share with their students. Those lessons are observed by project staff, who then—in collaboration with the school teams—analyze how students solved the problems.
“The analysis of student work helps us separate what math difficulties students are having and what problems are caused by language issues,” says EDC’s Mark Driscoll.
Making this distinction is crucial because many teachers mistakenly believe that mathematics problems must be simplified for ELLs. Mathematics communication and language are key, says Driscoll. In New York City, 13 percent of the 1.1 million students are considered ELLs.
This partnership with the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, is funded by the New York Department of Education’s Office of English Language Learners.
Originally published on January 1, 2008