IDENTIFYING EFFECTIVE MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM SOLVING STRATEGIES FOR ELLS THROUGH SOCIAL INTERACTION

Open Access
Author:
Cardimona, Kimberly Marie
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 24, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Dr Youb Kim, Dissertation Advisor
  • Robert William Schrauf, Committee Member
  • Matthew Edward Poehner, Committee Member
  • Patrick Willard Shannon, Committee Member
  • Dr Youb Kim, Committee Chair
Keywords:
  • English language learners
  • mathematics instruction
  • ESL
  • social interaction
Abstract:
This study investigated the nature of dyadic interaction between secondary English Language learners engaged in mathematics peer tutoring sessions. An analysis of fifteen ELL expert/novice student tutoring dyads and three mathematics teacher/ ELL novice dyads revealed the importance of questions and wait time in developing novice “tutee” ownership of the mathematical problem solving activities. Under current policy context, mathematics teachers are encouraged to adapt to reform-oriented teaching practices that emphasize discourse and communication, as noted National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards published in 1989, and prepare ELLs to participate in high stakes large scale assessments. Often used as gatekeepers to high school graduation, secondary math teachers are not only under immense pressure to adapt their teaching strategies to reflect reform oriented methods, but also under an immense time constraint to prepare all students for graduation. The results of this study are supported by Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development and can offer secondary mathematics teachers of ELLs practical strategies that reflect reform oriented teaching practices, support active participation, independent problem solving, and vocabulary acquisition, more specifically, ownership of the mathematics problem solving activities.