Linguistically Responsive Teaching to Foster ELL Engagement, Reasoning, and Participation in a Mathematics Discourse Community

  • Mary A. AvalosEmail author
  • Walter G. Secada
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 17)


We draw upon a co-teaching experience in a 6th grade mathematics classroom to discuss how mathematics teachers can carry out research-based suggestions to foster ELLs’ engagement and participation in mathematics discussions to apprentice use of the mathematics register and ultimately, to develop content understanding. We illustrate our approach based on actual experiences to establish an environment conducive to discussions in an urban classroom, with the objective of utilizing semiotics, such as language, symbols, and visual representations during instruction as relevant mathematical meaning-making systems. An instructional focus on meaning-making can prepare ELLs for problem-solving discussions in a discourse community.



This work was made possible by a grant from The Institute of Educational Sciences, Award Number R305A100862. This chapter does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. We acknowledge the teachers, students, district administrators, and project team members who contributed to this project. Finally, special thanks to editors Alan Oliveira and Rachel Kenney for their valuable comments and suggestions to refine this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and Learning, School of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  2. 2.School of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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