Support Needed for ELL Students in Mathematics vs Language Arts

Thank you Noemi Lopez in Houston

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From: Math Forum [mailto:watch@mathforum.org]
Sent: Fri 4/13/2007 3:03 PM
To: Orey, Daniel C
Subject: Re: support needed for ELL students in Mathematics vs Language Arts


A message has been posted to the discussion "TODOS: Mathematics for ALL".

Author:  Noemi Lopez
Subject: Re: support needed for ELL students in Mathematics vs Language Arts

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I apologize for not continuing this discussion on our discussion board but I am having difficulty with the posting and I wanted to continue my comments less I forget what I wanted to say, I will use this venue here and will follow on the discussion board. For the benefit of everyone, please do not respond to me personally but to the discussion board so that we can all participate in this rich and necessary discussion.

Additional comments:

Our English language is a very rich language and our ELLs must sift through homonyms, cognates, synonyms to make sense of what they hear and read in order to communicate in mathematics.

Hence,
         Only in a math class will a teacher teach vocabulary beyond those of the language arts teacher with such words that are only unique to mathematics. He/She may use terms like

         Hypotenuse

          Quadratic

         Cosine

         secant

         Only in a math class will a teacher go beyond the language arts teacher in teaching homonyms and make unique distinctions to mathematics with such words as

         Two, to, too

         Bases, basis, basses

         Cent, scent, sent

         Four, fore ,for

         Right, rite, wright, write

         Only in a math class will a teacher go beyond the language arts teacher when her students do not have the language sounds to hear the unique differences of words such as

         Four and fourths

         Six and sixths

         Sixty and sixteen

         Only in a math class will a teacher go beyond the language arts teacher when distinguishing the different meanings of the same word  and the interjection of colloquial terms with such words as

         Even- even numbers   "You're even"   "Even though I will not be here...."

         Base- " Base of a Triangle" "Base of an exponent number" "number of bases in a baseball field"

         Only in a math class will a teacher go beyond the language arts teacher when he/she addresses that some words in our social register are direct opposites from our mathematics register such as

         Or-  " Cream or Sugar"   "Coffee or tea" one is exclusive of the other 

But in Logic/Set Theory.

 A or B is true if A or B or both. Inclusive.  If set A = { 1,3,5,7} and set B = {2,4,6,8}, then   A B = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8}   The symbol  is used to represent the union of two sets; and can be expressed as "or"

         And-  "Our U.S. flag is red white and blue " all three colors are inclusive

      But  in Number Addition. Two and three make 5.  and in

      Set Theory.   Intersection. If Set A = { 1,2,3,4,5,6} and Set B = {2,4,6,..} then the intersection of Set A and Set B  can also be expressed as

      A B= {2,4,6} or

        A ^ B. This symbol is called a carat to represent intersection , or AND.

Hence, our mathematics teachers must quickly come to an understanding that they must not only teach mathematics to our ELLS but they must also access the language of mathematics in their teaching to make it meaningful.


Noemi R. Lopez
Director of Client Development
Harris County Department of Education

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