What are Evidence-based Teaching Practices for English Learners in Mathematics?

By Haiwen Chu and Leslie Hamburger


Teachers across the nation wonder how to maintain ambitious learning of mathematics with English Learners while offering them high levels of support. The United States Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition has recently published a teaching practice brief identifying and illustrating some key teaching practices that are based in evidence of effectiveness. To complement the publication of this resource, we are publishing a series of upcoming posts in which we will offer additional ideas and resources for each of these practices.


The five teacher practices, based upon syntheses of the research evidence, include:

  1. Embrace asset beliefs that position and support English Learners as full participants in mathematical learning;

  2. Engage English Learners in meaningful interactions and discourse with others;

  3. Provide support for English Learners to engage in mathematical practices;

  4. Sustain an explicit focus on language as it is used in math; and

  5. Design mathematical learning experiences that engage English Learners in rich communications integrating oral and written language.

In coming weeks, we’ll highlight each of these practices with some ideas for implementation.

The full document is available here on the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA). In addition, there is a podcast episode about the contents of the brief.


We hope you will share these resources with practitioners and teacher educators in your respective education communities.

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