Supporting English Learners: Lessons from Research
This very readable article on instructional planning at the lesson level is based on a much more extensive NSF study, “Fostering Mathematical Success of English Language Learners.” Here, the authors introduce a traditional geometry task and then show how this task might be revised to foster student engagement with the standards for mathematical practice (SMP). The authors then introduce three instructional principles known to benefit ELLs and show how these principles are also realized in the revised task. The article is a valuable exploration of the close relationship between the SMP and instructional design principles that support ELLs in meeting the Common Core State Standards in mathematics.
This article will be useful for teachers of ELLs and non-ELLs alike, as it addresses some of the key considerations for integrating the standards for mathematical practice (SMP) into instructional planning at the lesson level. The example task discussed in the article comes from middle school geometry, but the design principles and guiding questions can be applied to different mathematical domains at different grade levels. By including examples of student work and transcripts of classroom discourse, the authors show how the SMP and instructional design principles for ELLs can play out in actual lessons and classrooms.