“Inquiry learning is not possible if language dev is not in place. How can a stdnt choose an inquiry if OL is ‘at risk’? #ORFR” – @CarmelCrevola
I recall watching a video by Sir Ken Robinson where he describes teaching as an art form. That teachers are artists because they can connect with their students and know what would be appropriate to apply at a given time, to enhance learning. Sir Ken more accurately explains:
At the heart of all great professions is a deep power of connoisseurship. It’s true of great musicians, it’s true of all virtuosi that they know what is appropriate here and now. And great teachers are like that, they have a repertory of skills and possibilities and knowledge, but their skill is to apply it here and now, with you to know what would be appropriate.
This idea, while motivating, makes me feel cautious to some degree. Since moving to a new school and region I have, for the last 4 years, been implementing math inquiry in the classroom to a room full of English speakers. Presently, I teach a group of 31 grade 7 & 8 students. Of this group, two are English Language Learners (ELL) but they are stage 4, exceptional writers, and regular contributors to class discussions. However, this reality will change. I will need to learn the art of teaching math inquiry for stage 1 & 2 ELL students.
As I reflect upon this, some immediate questions come to my mind:
Will I know how to appropriately enhance learning for ELL students, within a math inquiry framework?
What is the best way for me to develop the math context for ELL students, other than through my familiar methods of conversation and writing?
What strategies can I apply to help ELL students tap into their strengths and share their math thinking with the class, and in turn benefit from the ideas of their peers?
Will ELL students feel part of the community of mathematicians I am trying to nurture, through my use of a math-talk classroom?
Perhaps for you the reader, this is already your reality. Namely, seeing the benefit of a math inquiry program but perhaps struggling to meet the needs of the ELL student who may not be able to engage completely within a math-talk community. Not because of any lack of intuitive math sense on the part of the ELL student, but largely because their language development may not be where it needs to be in order to genuinely contribute in an inquiry process.
The sharing of your experiences, resources, or strategies that might help me address my concerns noted above, would be of great help.