[Numeracy 551] QUESTION: Teaching math and numberacy skills to adults learning English

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Istas, Brooke IstasB at cowley.edu
Mon Oct 4 16:55:42 EDT 2010

Calling all Math and Numeracy Instructors, Experts, Researchers,
Administrators, and etc.!!!

The following is a message from Miriam Burt, the Adult English Language
Acquisition list Moderator. She posed this question to her list but I
believe that many of the subscribers to this list could answer her. So
my fellow colleagues, can we help find some of these answers to her
questions? Let's hear your thoughts!

Brooke Istas

Math and Numeracy List Moderator


Hi, all.

This is a request for information/ideas/assistance from me:

Someone asked me last week what I knew about research and practice for
teaching math and numeracy skills to adult English language learners in
the United States. I said I'd look into it for them.

I looked online and found several articles from Great Britain, some from
India, and some from Australia. I found nothing specifically on this
topic for adult English language learners in the United States.

It seems to me we should be fertile ground here for work on this topic.
Like practitioners in other English-speaking countries we may have
learners who know their math skills but a) know names for the concepts
and processes in a different language and b) use different processes
when doing math than what if often taught here - different ways of doing
long division and so on.

But in the U.S. we also have the issue of measurement... we don't use
the metric system generally, and instead have our own system (originally
taken from England, who themselves joined the rest of the world when
they went metric in 1971.)

So - I'm interested in the following

1. Does anyone know of work being done with adult English language
learners in the US on math and numeracy?
2. What issues have you come across with adult English language
learners and math?
3. What do you find works in your classroom when teaching math and
literacy skills to adult English language learners?

Thanks for any ideas you can offer.


Miriam Burt

Moderator, discussion list for adult English language acquisition

Center for Applied Linguistics

mburt at cal.org <mailto:mburt at cal.org>


Thanks so much, Brooke.


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