Page 22 - FIS World December 2020
P. 22

 Multilingual Math
Learning in home languages leads to students’ confidence and understanding
the other multilingual math challenges presented
to students, building a card structure
When looking for authentic and meaningful multilingual opportunities, math might be the last subject one would consider. But thanks to a partnership between English Language Acquisition (ELA) teacher Megan Dreher and FISW Math Coach Gareth Rose, students at FISW were provided just such an opportunity. The team had been developing consistent vocabulary and practices for students to use to engage in number talks, but most were conducted in English. “We thought, let’s use our school-wide community time to allow elementary and middle school students to participate in number talks and problem-solving activities in their home languages,” said Ms. Dreher. The idea worked.
Math is a universal language in which many ELA learners can succeed early on. However, the school- wide number talks and inquiry-driven math instruc- tion have increased the English language component necessary for ELA students to be successful in Math. Allowing students to conduct number talks in their home language helps to improve their understand-
ing of both math concepts and vocabulary. Beyond those fundamentals though, it also helps support students’ home languages and cultural identities, and increases their self-confidence and integration into the FIS community.
FISW has long benefited from its small size, which pro- vides excellent opportunities for mixed-age learning groups. The multilingual number talks have enabled older and younger students to connect with their language peers. This in turn has provided authen- tic leadership opportunities for the older students, as well as providing younger students with a genu- ine celebration and use for their home languages.
After trialing the multilingual number talk, students and teachers were asked for input on their experiences. Overall, feedback was positive. Teachers were keen to slightly restructure the groupings to increase equitable participation among all students. The subsequent multilingual math time saw students problem solving in their home languages.
20 FIS World December 2020

   20   21   22   23   24