Bilingualism Questions?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TxMaThTeAcHeR, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. TxMaThTeAcHeR

    TxMaThTeAcHeR Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2011

    Hey teachers!
    So I need some insight... I am in a grad class and need to write a paper on bilingualism. Since I am a math teacher, I want to focus on math and bilingualism at home and in the classroom. Do you have any insight/questions/comments/concerns that may help me with this? I appreciate it guys!!

    :)
     
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  3. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Aug 5, 2011

    Can you be more specific about what you are looking for? I'm not quite sure I understand.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 5, 2011

    Your question is a little to broad. Can you narrow down your focus for us?
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Aug 5, 2011

    I have a bit of experience with bilingual kids from a parent perspective (both mine and friends).

    If both parents are foreign it might be difficult for them to help with language homework, and thus those from cultures that value education highly the parents will put extra emphasis on math.

    However, when they teach math such students may understand the concepts very well, but not the specialized English vocabulary of math -- words like hypotenuse, vertex, and the like.

    Word problems can be tricky due to ambiguities that American students would not experience. For example, "remaining" might be a word that most second graders would know, but a student whose first language isn't English might not, and this may not be an ELL student. Such a student might not be aware of whether the question is asking for a number left over, or a sum of what's been removed. Series of such errors could give a teacher the impression such a student is good at computation but doesn't have a deep understanding of math, when it isn't the math understanding that's the issue but the verbal ability.

    It's a bit controversial whether there are actually any linguistic advantages to some languages. Japanese is monosyllabic, for example, and thus the times tables are often learned in a somewhat similar way to how Americans learn the alphabet -- it's not quite a sing-song, but close. Also, their words for fractions are more straightforward (1/4th, for example, is a bit more literally said as "of four parts, one"). I don't think an effect has actually been demonstrated, but some people think it makes sense that there would be one.
     

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