“Everyone tells us we need to teach this way, but no one has shown us how. This shows us how!”
“For the first time in over 20 years of teaching, I’m confident that my students understand this. They don’t need to memorize formulas or math jingles. They really understand the math."
“When I do my walk-arounds, I see 100% engagement in high-level math discussion. That’s never happened before, and it’s exciting."
Across the United States, educators are changing the way they teach STEM courses. Students collaborate to investigate local phenomena in science class and work out intriguing problems in mathematics class. Across STEM courses, students attempt explanations, justify their positions, question and challenge one another’s ideas, and build new understanding together. This focus on students’ meaning-making represents an important shift. Rather than focusing on memorizing formulas and procedures in math, or taxonomies and definitions in science, we focus today on strengthening students’ reasoning, their skills in collaborating, and their ability to communicate their complex thinking effectively. For English Learners, this meaning-making is coupled with an emerging ability to make meaning in English. The interplay between meaning-making in science and mathematics and meaning-making in English strengthens students’ skill in both areas, as shown in this spiral.
Like all students, English Learners come to school with rich experiences and ideas about how the world works, ideas shaped by their cultures and discussions with family, and with experience in making meaning in one or more languages. When we position ELs as thinkers and problems-solvers alongside their classmates, they will learn through collaboration and experience many ways to use English to effectively communicate their growing understanding. They will learn, along with their classmates, how to talk science and mathematics as they learn what it means to do science and mathematics.
This website provides quick access to educator resources to support all students’ simultaneous doing and talking science and mathematics.
Increasing Student Engagement
Teaching Essential Life Skills