Teaching Mathematics to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

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Every student should have equitable and optimal opportunities to learn mathematics free from bias-intentional or unintentional-based on race, gender, socioeconomic status or language. In order to close the achievement gap, all students need the opportunity to learn challenging mathematics from a well-qualified teacher who will make connections to the background, needs and cultures of all learners. (NCTM 2005)

This book provides a foundation for understanding the challenges that face culturally linguistic and diverse learners (CLD) in general, and those strategies and materials that will help teachers teach them mathematics.

Each chapter of the text discusses some aspect of teaching CLD learners. Chapter 1 concentrates on the general characteristics of a student who might be considered culturally and linguistically diverse. Chapter 2 focuses on the teacher and teaching techniques that can benefit CLD learners. Chapter 3considers various strategies and techniques for assessment, grouping practices, and general classroom management. Chapter 4 covers the symbols, algorithms, and vocabulary of mathematics as it applies to and affects CLD learners. Chapter 5 provides a brief consideration of the various aspects of multiculturalism as they may be used to enhance mathematics instruction of CLD learners. Each chapter also includes some discussion of the various facets of the chapter topics, with each discussion followed by a unique feature, Points to Ponder.

Points to Ponder are brief capsules of the preceding discussion, suggestions for working with CLD learners, or descriptions about their tendencies, learning styles, or habits. Another feature of the book are Cultural Conundrums. These are inspired by the experiences of real teachers in the classroom. As the student reads each chapter they can try to determine a plausible solution for the situation presented. The explanations are then included at the end of the chapter along with the steps a teacher might take to help that particular student.

The goal for teachers should be to help CLD learners learn mathematics and understand mathematics to be more than numbers and nomenclature. This book contains the information they need to understand the cultural and ethnic influences acting on CLD learners and to provide classroom-tested strategies for helping them advance their mathematics knowledge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[T]he thorough examples, the attention to multiculturalism, the just-right length of the entire manuscript and the suggestions for other resources (web sources, books, topics, etc.)…This [text] has depth and breadth!" - Katie Bell, Central Elementary School


"This book is very timely in the face of the recent acknowledgement of the diversity of our school systems. The emphasis on thoughtful mathematics instruction in English to support all learners is brilliant. I feel that teachers will be able to make practical use of this text." - Adrean L Rivers-Horan, Denver Public Schools

"The text made me aware of the challenges my CLD students face and even more empathetic of their struggles with both the language and the mathematics. It [helped] me confront some of my own misconceptions and practices about some of my students. After...implementing some of the author’s ideas and suggestions, I think that I am a better teacher for my CLD students." - Christine W. Pateracki, Bluffton High School

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205468775
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 1/12/2009
  • Series: Pearson Custom Education Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 551,512
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Johnson is a life-long mathematics educator who has taught at the middle and high school grades, as well as undergraduate and graduate levels. He has written extensively about mathematics at all levels K-14. Johnson is the author of Geometry (Prentice Hall), Guiding Children’s Learning of Mathematics (Wadsworth), Math Matters: Understand the Math You Teach (Marilyn Burns Publications), and Teaching Today’s Mathematics in the Middle Grades (Allyn & Bacon).

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners xx

Growing Diversity in American Student Population

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student in mathematics

Levels of English Language acquisition

Chapter 2 Teaching CLD Students xx

The Teacher Makes a Difference

Attitude Matters

Knowledge of CLD learners and Their Culture

Classroom Communication

Teaching Strategies and English Acquisition Levels

Chapter 3 Organizing for Instruction and Assessment xx

The Student as Learner

Organizing for Instruction

Mathematics Texts and Materials

Planning a Lesson for CLD Students



Chapter 4 The Language of Mathematics xx

The Vocabulary of Mathematics

The Symbolic Language of Mathematics and CLD Learners

Alternative Algorithms

Chapter 5 Multiculturalism in the Mathematics Classroom xx

Multiculturalism Matters


Multicultural Topics in Mathematics

Appendix xx

Lesson Plans and Materials for CLD Students

Resources in Spanish

Resources for Teaching Mathematics to African-American Learners

Multicultural Web Sites

Interactive Mathematics Sites

Multicultural Books with a Mathematics Theme

Spanish Language Books with a Mathematics Theme

A Bookshelf for Teaching Math to CLD Learners

Blackline Masters


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