How Number Talks Support English Language Learners and
How Number Talks Support English Language Learners and Other Disenfranchised Students Presented by Ruth Parker Mathematics Education Collaborative (MEC) www.mec-math.org
Number Talks Why are they important? Why take the time? Whats in it for students? For teachers? How do they support English language learners? What are we aiming for? Dot Talk
Why are Number Talks important? The need for numerical literate citizens What weve been doing for decades hasnt worked Fragility with numbers and operations on the part of students, teachers, and the American
public Some Good News This 15 minute routine can help fill many of the shortcomings currently ubiquitous to mathematics education They are empowering to both students and teachers They position understanding at the center of
mathematical pursuits They help foster more thoughtful and reflective global citizens in a time of great need What do Number Talks add? Whats in them for students? for teachers? Historically, math has been accessible to only a
small segment of our student population. Number Talks provide a way to bring all voices to the table They help create a mathematics learning environment where every student and every teacher can thrive as they learn to think about numbers and operations in their own ways and engage with the thinking of others
Students and teachers learn that mathematics makes sense That there are likely many ways to solve any given problem To have mathematical ideas and be willing to share them That we learn more deeply by considering others ideas and multiple perspectives That they enjoy learning together
I know of no better or more efficient way than Number Talks to help students and teachers become more powerful mathematical thinkers. Number Talks take only a small fraction of instructional time but the payoff to students and teachers alike, can be enormous.
Better Citizens??? A disposition to listen to and be truly interested in understanding the ideas of others A yearning to understand multiple perspectives when making decisions Predisposed to engage as a problem solver; one who perseveres in the pursuit of understanding
- not willing to give up until things make sense. Able to advocate for important ideas Number Talks can help secure all of this for students and teachers but it wont come easily.
A Number Talk 8 x 13 So what did you notice? Number Talks with
English language learners and underrepresented minorities Jana Deans study during her Fullbright Scholarship year in the Netherlands working at the Freudenthal Institute Van den Boers work, If you know what I mean. Supportive Practices Giving students time to discuss and revisit problems
Formative assessment that makes students misconceptions visible for both teacher and student High expectations for everyone Promising Practices (cont.) Keeping the context of contextual problems in the foreground during discussions so that it is important
Students, not teachers, own and provide the answers so that students are not focused on simply trying to produce the answers their teachers want Never say, That is easy, as such statements will discourage students from showing they are confused Promising practices (cont) Bring explicit attention to
academic vocabulary and ask students to engage in it so that students will know that words are conceptually important What will it take? Number Talks demand a lot from teachers They need time and support as they work to deepen their own
understanding of mathematics They need time to learn to listen to students and trust that they will all have ideas worth listening to They need time to understand students ways of thinking They need time, support and encouragement to let go of decades old practices that feel comfortable but dont serve students well They need supportive communities that help give them
courage and motivation to try something new; communities who understand that this will take time. Community wide support is essential Questions school communities and school and district administrators should be asking themselves:
Do teachers have ongoing opportunities to learn? Is this a safe place for teachers to try; to flounder; pick themselves up and keep going? Are all players at the table working together proactively toward this teachers, administrators, parents and other community members
Do teachers have periodic in-class support Questions to ask (cont) Is the commitment to become a learner alongside students taking root on a broad scale? Is there a willingness to be vulnerable? Is there a growing curiosity about and awe of
students and their mathematical ways of thinking? A change of this magnitude one that turns on its head the very notions of how to teach arithmetic will take a purposeful community wide effort.
One doesnt discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore. Andr Gide
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