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What Is It Like to Learn Math In a Different Language?

When a math lesson is taught in Welsh, educators develop an understanding of techniques for teaching mathematical language and concepts at the same time.

By Calli Welsch March 17, 2017

As classrooms become more diverse and rich, educators are finding the need to ask this question with great empathy: What is it like to learn math in a different language?

Thankfully, advances in research are helping educators uncover the strategies and solutions for providing ELLs equal access to rigorous learning. We now know that academic discourse and language processing is an integral component of deeper learning in any academic subject for all students.

"There's a myth sometimes that English learners learn differently or that they need a different type of instruction, and in fact, they just need good instruction."

-Nigel Nisbet, MIND Research Institute

The Science of Learning

What is it like to be an English language learner in a math classroom? Nigel Nisbet, Vice President of Content Creation at MIND Research Institute, guides the audience through the experience of being a student in a math class taught in Welsh. Experience the lesson yourself in this presentation:


Length: 14:45


Presented at the DALI Superintendents Summit as well as the Deeper Learning Symposium: Empowering Your Math Superheroes.

Equitable Access: Language is the Key to Learning

Take a deep dive with leading ELL education advocate and expert Kathleen Leos, into the importance of teaching mathematical language and concepts simultaneously and how to make this a reality in your schools, classrooms and communities.


Length: 23:40


Presented at the Deeper Learning Symposium: Empowering Your Math Superheroes.

Resources To Support Math Education For ELLs 

Here are some related resources to share with your colleagues or to use for staff development:

See all the resources from the Deeper Learning SymposiumAnd to find out more about our professional development programs, you can request information below:

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Calli Welsch is a digital media analyst at MIND Research Institute. She loves playing board games and editing their rules, which she often talks about on twitter @CalliWelsch.

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