Students who are multilingual learners—also called English learners (ELs) in U.S. schools—can thrive in mathematics class. Yet recent National Assessment of Educational Progress data suggest that too few of these students are reaching their full potential in mathematics. What is the key to these students’ success? Teachers must have effective resources, support, and strategies to tailor instruction to fit emergent multilingual students’ strengths and needs.
Across the United States, EDC’s professional development programs and resources help teachers enhance instruction for students who are multilingual learners. Working in partnership with educators and school leaders, we design, implement, and study evidence-based programs and resources that give teachers the skills and tools they need to ensure that multilingual students excel.
EDC’s work to facilitate mathematics success for multilingual students includes the following activities:
- Created the Middle Grades Mathematics Instruction for Multilingual Learners: Strategies for Success toolkit that shares effective instructional strategies for teachers of multilingual learners
- Published Mathematical Thinking and Communication: Access for English Learners for teachers of emergent multilingual students and teacher educators
- Produced numerous videos, including one that was spotlighted in the 2021 National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM For All Video Showcase
- Designed fraction division lessons with built-in supports for multilingual students and studied the impacts through the project Analyzing Diagrams: Supports for English Learners
- Developed Visual Access to Mathematics (VAM), a successful teacher professional development course for mathematics teachers of multilingual students
- Offered online workshops to mathematics teachers of multilingual students during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Published the Fostering Geometric Thinking Toolkit and conducted a study of Fostering Geometric Thinking professional learning for teachers of multilingual students
- Led Mathematical Record Keeping Supports Cognition and Communication, a study of how record-keeping strategies help students, including those who are multilingual, tackle challenging geometry problems
- Provided professional development and coaching focused on supporting multilingual students’ mathematics learning to teams of teachers in New York City
- Findings from this work have been published in numerous journals, including a research report in ZDM – Mathematics Education, multiple articles in Educational Leadership (including one about professional development and one about making mathematical thinking visible, and and article in Mathematics in the Middle School; shared in blog posts; and spotlighted in numerous videos, including one that was spotlighted in the 2021 National Science Foundation STEM For All Video Showcase.
- Over 500 middle grades mathematics teachers, mathematics coaches, and English learner specialists across the United States have participated in our mathematics professional development.
- A nationwide study demonstrated that EDC’s Fostering Geometric Thinking Toolkit professional development positively impacted 150 teachers’ knowledge and instruction.
- A study involving over 100 teachers demonstrated positive impacts of our VAM professional development on participating mathematics teachers.
- A study involving students in 23 grade 6 classrooms demonstrated positive impacts of our Analyzing Diagrams: Supports for English Learners fraction division lessons on participating students’ problem-solving. This study generated findings about how instructional strategies support students who are multilingual learners.
Horizon Research, Inc.; University of North Carolina-Charlotte