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Between Language, Culture, and Math: Responding to Diverse Learners

Between Language, Culture, and Math: Responding to Diverse Learners

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Between Language, Culture, and Math: Responding to Diverse Learners

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  1. Between Language, Culture, and Math: Responding to Diverse Learners Bernd R. Ferner Portland State University German American School of Portland FernerB@pdx.edu

  2. Outline • Personal Background • Opening Activity • Cultural and Linguistic Challenges • Action Research • Recommendations • Classroom Activities • Q & A

  3. Opening Routine • Theme Song • Time to get ready (Teacher & Students) • Traffic Lights • Checking in • Housekeeping • Game • Energizer • Motivation • Getting focused

  4. Traffic Light How are you doing? What’s your color? Green = well Orange = O.K. Red = not well

  5. Language learners in mathematics classrooms underperform because of language and culture related learning disadvantages.

  6. A Deck of Cards – A Math Problem? What is the probability of drawing an ace of hearts from a regular deck of cards?

  7. Brainstorming Please discuss with the person next to you: • language challenges that a student might face in solving this math problem. • culture-related challenges for students

  8. A Deck of Cards – A Language Problem! • Mathematical Language • probability • General Language • drawing • Cultural Language • deck of cards • ace of hearts

  9. A Deck of Cards – A Cultural Problem! Answers: United States: 1/52 Germany: 1/32 Switzerland: 1/36 Mexico: 1/40

  10. Mathematical Challenges • Concept understanding / Basic Skills • Digits, Computing, Units • Experience of the students • Are the students familiar with the context? • Spending money to buy clothes? • Language challenges • Vocabulary is irrelevant for the students • What is a cow pen?

  11. Action Research The influence of cultural learning activities and second language instruction on 4th and 5th graders’ learning progress in mathematics in a two-way-immersion program.

  12. Hypothesis The needs of students from a multicultural background in a mainstream classroom can only be addressed by implementing language immersion strategies in all subjects areas.

  13. Research Questions • What are the effects of additional cultural and language learning activities on math learning? • What are the effects of embedded cultural and language learning activities on math learning ?

  14. Research Design / Methodology

  15. Setting • Private school in a suburban location (Pacific Northwest) • Student-teacher- ratio 12:1 • Two-way-immersion school (80:20) • Strong cultural / linguistic family background • 5th grade: embedded language instruction • 4th grade: add-on language instruction

  16. Assessments • Parent and student questionnaires • Teacher-prepared tests on cultural, linguistic and mathematical knowledge and skills • Report cards and progress reports • “Take your stand” activity / Traffic lights cards • Student self-evaluation • Exit slips

  17. Teaching Strategies • Cultural awareness and cultural learning in all areas • Language learning in all subjects • Vocabulary, grammar, reading and comprehension • Cross-curricular learning • Cooperative learning methods • Teacher cooperation / feedback • Making content matter to the students • Safe learning environment • HAVE FUN!

  18. Know Your Students and Their Backgrounds Build Relationships! Care for your students!

  19. Research • Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary learning supports language development (Genesee, 2008) • Language learning embedded in subject curricula supports language development (Lyster, 2007) • Cooperative learning supports ELL students (Coggins, 2007) • The effective reader has clear understanding of mathematical concepts (Barton and Heidema, 2000)

  20. Findings • Language learning embedded in subject curricula supports • content learning • concept understanding • students’ confidence • An isolated language approach does not affect concept understanding or content learning • Cooperative learning strategies and a cross-curricular approach enhances learning.

  21. Conclusion • Language instruction in subject areas supports literacy and language development of all students. • Cultural and language instruction support learning in all subject areas, e.g. math. • A culturally inclusive school environment supports learning.

  22. Recommendation • Address students’ experience and cultural background • Create learning experiences that engage students • Teach language in every subject area

  23. Word Problems Building vocabulary and reading skills

  24. Color Coding This math sentence represents the total number of cow legs in the cow pen. If you know that □represents the number of cows and there are 12 cows in the pen, what does the ▲represent? □ x▲= 48 A. The amount of grain the cows eat. B. How much milk each cow gives. C. The number of legs on each cow. D. The total number of legs in the pen. 2008-2010 Sample Test, Grade 5 Oregon Department of Education

  25. Mark the Stepping Stones This math sentence represents the total number of cow legs in the cow pen. If you know that □represents the number of cows and there are 12 cows in the pen, what does the ▲represent? □ x▲= 48 A. The amount of grain the cows eat. B. How much milk each cow gives. C. The number of legs on each cow. D. The total number of legs in the pen. 2008-2010 Sample Test, Grade 5 Oregon Department of Education

  26. Identify the Context This math sentence represents the total number of cow legs in the cow pen. If you know that □represents the number of cows and there are 12 cows in the pen, what does the ▲represent? □ x▲= 48 A. The amount of grain the cows eat. B. How much milk each cow gives. C. The number of legs on each cow. D. The total number of legs in the pen. 2008-2010 Sample Test, Grade 5 Oregon Department of Education

  27. Identify the Math Problem This math sentence represents the total number of cow legs in the cow pen. If you know that □represents the number of cows and there are 12 cows in the pen, what does the ▲represent? □ x▲= 48 A. The amount of grain the cows eat. B. How much milk each cow gives. C. The number of legs on each cow. D. The total number of legs in the pen. 2008-2010 Sample Test, Grade 5 Oregon Department of Education

  28. Student-Made Dictionary • Reference • Learning tool • Use the word • Definition and Illustration

  29. How to use the Dictionary Example: acute triangle • Guess a definition • Discuss your definition with a partner • Verify your definition if necessary (internet, dictionary) • Write the answer in your dictionary • Make an illustration

  30. Reward System Students get rewards for • Asking for help • Providing help • Looking up words • Adding a word to their dictionary

  31. Ideas to Engage Students • Create a money and bank system in the classroom • Students can earn and spend money • Writing workshops to create story problems • Create context in the classroom • Walk race • School survey

  32. Questions?

  33. References • Barton, M. L. & Heidema, C. (2000). Teaching reading in mathematics [microform] : A supplement to "Teaching Reading in the Content Areas Teacher's Manual (2nd Ed.). [S.l.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse. • Coggins, D, Kravin D., Coates, G. & Carroll, M. (2007). English language learners in the mathematics classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. • Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters Ltd. • Genesee, F. (2008) Learning to read in a second language: Immersion Education: Pathways to Bilingualism & Beyond. Plenary Speaker CALRA Immersion Conference Nov.08. St Paul, MN • Gravelle, M (2005) Bilingual Learners: Bilingualism, Learning and Inclusion Retrieved 3rd March 2006 from http://www.multiverse.ac.uk/attachments/044c80df-5005-44ac-a4b2-cec23fc51668.pdf • Lyster, R. (2007). Learning and teaching languages through content: A counterbalanced approach. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: JohnBenjamins. • National Association of Bilingual Education (2004). Education Retrieved April 7, 2008 from http://www.nabe.org/education/index.html • Oregon Department of Education (2010) Sample Test 2008 – 2010, Grade 5 , Retrieved April 10, 2010 from http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=441 • Ovando, C. J. (2003). Bilingual education in the United States: Historical development and current issues. Bilingual Research Journal (27:1). • Tiedt, P. L. & Tiedt, I. M. (2010). Multicultural Teaching: A Handbook of activities, information, and resources. (8th ed.) Pearson Education, Inc.