In this episode of Bam! Radio (an all-education radio network that offers programming from top education organizations and leaders), hosted by Larry Ferlazzo, a panel of experts discuss Common Core–aligned instructional strategies for teaching math to English learners (ELs). The panelists are Drs. Gladis Kersaint and Denisse Thompson, professors of mathematics education at the University of South Florida, and Ben Spielberg, a Teach for America alumnus with teaching and coaching experience in secondary mathematics. Ferlazzo asks questions about new shifts found in Common Core mathematics and strategies that teachers of ELs can use to address these shifts.
For ELs, speaking English is one challenge and “speaking mathematics” is another. This short audio program (a little over five minutes) is concise and offers practical strategies that teachers can use to help their EL students understand their mathematics classrooms. The panelists all agree that the biggest shift in the Common Core math classroom is the emphasis on conceptual rather than procedural understanding. With conceptual understanding, mathematics classrooms have become language- and discussion-rich, with students needing to explain their thinking. The panelists emphasize the importance of teachers explicitly teaching academic vocabulary words to their EL students and offer strategies that can help teachers in their instruction.