About Maths 4 EAL

Maths 4 EAL is intended to be a place to share conversation, insights and resources for teachers of Mathematics with English as an Additional Language (or Dialect) students, and for teachers of mathematics more generally with an interest in the language demands of the subject.

When I was training as a high school mathematics teacher, way back, we were taught that all teachers are teachers of literacy (and that all teachers are teachers of numeracy). And we had half a unit that was supposed to equip us to do that. But none of that even began to examine, let alone address, the specific language demands that secondary school mathematics places on students. Like most mathematics teachers, I was not really equipped at all to teach the literacy demands of my subject to first language speakers, let alone to the EAL students who came through the door.

In specialist language school settings the mirror image tends to be true. Most mathematics classes are necessarily taught by EAL teachers, with little or no training in mathematical pedagogy, let alone the specific language of mathematics. And there isn’t a great deal of research or targeted resource out there to help.

Whether we are teaching mathematics in a specialist language school setting or a mainstream school, whether the student in front of us is a newly arrived refugee with zero English or a first language speaker struggling to understand what the question is asking, as mathematics teachers we need to understand that language ourselves, and find ways of teaching it.

So the intention of this site is to provide a forum where resources and ideas can be posted. Where a conversation between interested teachers can be had. All are welcome, whether mathematics teachers with an interest in the language, or language teachers with an interest in the mathematics.