How should I approach Math to an English Language Learner that is behind? In both languages or just one?
So I am teaching in a fourth grade classroom and I have a student that speaks very little English. I don't know if her previous teachers pushed her aside because of the language issue, but she is seriously delayed. She cannot count passed one hundred even in spanish. We are working on adding two digit numbers. She does fine until I get to carrying. I do not know how to explain the one's and ten's place. Should I continue to work with her in English and Spanish? I feel like I am asking her to learn twice as much! Should I try to stay speaking in English to get her familiar with the numbers and drop the spanish? I am basically proficient in spanish with four years under my belt. I am not good with math terms. What do I do?
This is a difficult situation. I'm guessing that you are in the U.S. and the child needs to learn how to speak English in order to progress in school.
I have experienced a similar frustration with teaching music to Spanish speaking students (with little knowledge of English). But I think our circumstances are different. What has worked for me is to teach the concept in Spanish. Once the student seems to grasp what I am teaching, I quickly change the vocabulary into English. I know this is twice as much work for both of you, but I think it will work best.
I personally have difficulties with math. I can not imagine someone trying to teach me a mathematical concept in Spanish. It would be too much to process. However, if you taught me in English, once I understood the concept and started practicing, I think I would be ready to change the vocabulary into Spanish.
This method takes more time and patience, but it does work. The key is to immediately change the vocabulary once you can tell the student has confidence in the new concept.
I wish you well!
I would think that your question applies more to the language of math than to either English or Spanish.
Have you tried any visual aids or manipulatives with her to try to get her familiar with the concepts that you are trying to teach? Have you tried to get her parents involved with her education? If you are trying to teach her math in English and she can't yet count to 100, then perhaps you should also address that. I would definitely involve the parents to see what they think they might be able to do to help her along.
I'm sorry if I could not be more helpful, but I sincerely hope that you are able to find the answers that you are looking for.
Side issue - "passed" should be "past" in your question.
I think you are correct in that by using only English she's having to learn twice as much, which can leave you struggling to keep her engaged, as it's the feeling of accomplishments that make you want more, whereas frustration and not-getting-it makes you want less. If you feel you can help her understand the maths issue by using some Spanish too, then give her a break, explain the concept in Spanish and then go back to English. If you don't then perhaps as the other answerer suggests, some visual aids, seperate the singles/tens/hundreds etc is how I remember learning it. Use columns of beads that you can add together in one column, and then carry beads over ten over to the next one. Then write down the number of beads in each column to form the final number. That should break any language barrier.
Hope this can help you with some ideas... bounce some off me if you need to work them out a bit more.
this post needs to be kept alive because it is more important than learning another language . Its about a life .
This child needs to be evaluated for her comprrehension first and then take it from there . You may have to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start fresh.
if an abacus is the answer ! Why did George W Bush not have at least one ?.
btw what's fourth grade in non-american (ie, how old is the child?)