Mathematics, the Common Core, and Language: Recommendations for Mathematics Instruction for ELs Aligned with the Common Core

In this resource, Judit Moschkovich, professor of mathematics education at the University of California, Santa Cruz, makes recommendations for developing mathematics instruction for English language learners (ELLs) that meet the challenges of the Common Core State Standards. For all students, but particularly for ELLs, teachers need to connect learning mathematical content to language. The recommendations in the paper and the video found on this Understand Language webpage (from the Stanford Graduate School of Education) can guide teachers, curriculum developers, and teacher educators to support mathematical reasoning and sense-making for ELLs.

Content Comments 

This paper provides some of the most insightful advice for providing CCSS-Math-aligned instruction for English language learners. The author's language- and math-focused recommendations include:

  • focusing on ELL students’ mathematical reasoning, not the correctness of their mathematical language use;
  • shifting to a focus on mathematical discourse practices, moving away from simplified views of language;
  • supporting ELL students as they engage in complex mathematical language;
  • using ELL students’ languages and experiences as resources; and
  • providing professional development to enhance teachers’ awareness of ways to support ELLs as they develop both language and mathematical knowledge.