Thursday, 29 May 2014

TEACHING MATHS THROUGH ENGLISH

Our last seminar session this year 2013-2014 took place last May 27th and I was very happy to check that all teachers attending  it are eager to continue developing their multilingual projects at schools.  Therefore, we will go on with our seminar sessions in October and keep on paving the way for  multilingualism at Secondary level in our schools. 

Throughout this year I have received several e-mails from teachers who are ready to start implementing Maths so that is why I have decided to write my first post on this area.  

Obviously, basic goals would be to engage students in understanding Mathematics while improving their English competence. In my view, three main  instructional strategies should be developed: 

- Make Maths comprehensible

- Provide opportunities to talk

- Support talk

It goes beyond the scope of this post to develop each of the strategies above in depth but  I would like to encourage teachers who will be facing this challenge by suggesting some of the strategies that are proved to be very helpful to support learners: 

- Identify a Math and a language goal for each lesson

- Build language scaffolding (sentence frames)

- Create vocabulary banks

- Use manipulative materials

- Present problems in familiar contexts - we will be more successful in        motivating  our students if we make them     face  meaningful everyday    problem      situations as much as possible.

- Prepare visual support that facilitates the acquisition of new content.

- Enhance partner talk as well as choral responses.

- Design different questions and prompts for different learners' levels

- Provide students with good models, demonstrate what you need from them

- Make abundant use of yes/no questions with beginners and allow for non-verbal responses too.

- Be aware of the purpose for language: to describe, to hypothesize, to compare, to differentiate...

Undoubtedly, a challenging task ahead. We will talk about how to develop the strategies above in due course but now  let me share with you a basic list of web  resources  that can help you with the planning of your Maths lessons.

As Humphrey Bogart would say,  I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship - between Maths and English in our case. Therefore, let us enjoy it together after our well-deserved rest. 

Looking forward to meeting all of you, Math and non-Math teachers, in October.