Taking Math to Task

Leslie Hamburger and I published an article in the new special issue of NYS TESOL Journal focused on Second Language Acquisition. Our article, entitled “Taking Math to Task” provides tools with which to critique the communicative opportunities offered by common math tasks. The abstract is pasted below:

Drawing upon task-based learning designs from second language acquisition, we critique how mathematics education has primarily conceived of tasks as problems to be solved. We extend the notion of communicative gaps (e.g., opinion and information) into a framework that considers the flows of information that tasks
structure and facilitate. We then employ the analytic framework to examine collaborative mathematics tasks from three popular middle school curricula. Such a framework offers educators tools for assessing the extent to which existing curricula provide English learners with challenging and well-supported opportunities to communicate about mathematics. Based upon this initial survey of the field, in terms of mathematical and language development opportunities we offer next steps and alternatives for curriculum designers and teachers to consider as they create mathematical tasks for English learners.

The article is available freely online.

Designing Mathematical Interactions for English Learners

With Leslie Hamburger, I wrote this article for the 2019 “Making Math Social” Focus Issue of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, the practitioner journal for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

In the article, we describe and provide examples of five types of interactive task designs that challenge and support English Learners as they engage their peers in dialogue exploring mathematical ideas and practices.

Please cite as: Chu, H. & Hamburger, L. (2019). Designing mathematical interactions for English Learners. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 24, 218-225.

Observing for Equitable Opportunities to Participate in Mathematics Lessons, Activities, and Interactions

With Rebecca Perry, I presented at the Critical Issues in Mathematics Education 2017 conference. We shared different observation instruments that enable stakeholders such as district coaches and classroom teachers to focus on the opportunities students, and English learners in particular, are offered to participate in different ways to grapple with important mathematics.

Understanding the Trajectories and Longitudinal Outcomes of Adolescent Newcomer English Language Learners in a Texas District

I participated in a poster session focused on collaborations to improve opportunities and outcomes for English Learners at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Washington, DC.

Our partnership with a large, urban school district in enabled us to identify both district-level patterns and school level practices to support the success of adolescent newcomers at the secondary level.