“ELs Are Not the Problem. They Are a Gift…”

The advent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has undoubtedly foddered many discussions among educators, as well have required us to rethink the way we teach all students, particularly our English learners, linguistic minorities, and students with special needs. The CCSS Math Standards place unprecedented demands for teachers to ensure that instruction not only focus on content, but on practices as well. The practice standards such as, “reason abstractly and quantitatively,” and “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others,”  demand the use of  language and interaction. In this Understanding Language video, Judit Moschovich (UC Santa Cruz) propounds that it will be the work of teachers to “teach math for understanding,” and to “learn to uncover the mathematics in what students say and do.”  When we understand this, it is easy to begin to understand how teachers should view their English learners as “gifts,” as their language abilities and needs can provide teachers a barometric reading into the language needs of ALL students.



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