The Scoop on Deeper Learning and Mathematics: English Language Learner Edition

Math English language learner Using Abacus

By Kelsey Skaggs
From classroom teacher to district leader, all educators continue to search for innovative ways to provide empowering learning environments for their English language learners (ELLs)—especially when it comes to math.
Instruction that leverages visual learning and conceptual understanding is a great start. Scroll through for some of our favorite reads on how visual learning can provide ELLs a path for math success.

The Problem With Math

  • Get a glimpse of the particular challenges ELLs face when it comes to mathematics in this excerpt from the short film, “Immersion,” written and directed by Richard Levien. The full version of the film is worth watching as well to help understand the obstacles teachers and faculty encounter when trying to support ELLs.

  • NPR shares a general overview of the different types of approaches most schools take when teaching ELLs.
  • This infographic on Math Success for ELLs shares some of the challenges facing ELLs when it comes to learning math and ideas on how to maximize technology in math instruction.


Supporting ELLs with Visual Math Instruction

  • Stanford mathematics professor Jo Boaler offers a variety of research and visual math activities to take into the classroom.
  • English language learners at Wilson Elementary school in Sanger, Calif. are getting hands-on with math and science in makerspaces. Makerspaces, where students use technology tools and materials to solve problems, offer ways to build confidence as well as practice STEM topics and English conversation.
  • What would math look like if it could be taught (at first) completely without language of any kind? Dr. Matthew Peterson shares how in this TEDx talk:

With a little innovation and creativity, math can be engaging no matter what language you speak!
For more, see:

This post was originally published at MIND Research Institute.
Kelsey Skaggs is the Engagement Specialist at MIND Research Institute. Follow them on Twitter: @MIND_Research.

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