Hispanic ELL middle-school students and their teachers: perceptions of three mathematics teaching practices
Roberts, Christi Szulczewski
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Even though Hispanic English Language Learners (ELL) are one of the fastest growing student demographics in the United States, limited research exists exploring how Hispanic ELLs benefit from mathematics teaching practices that have been determined to be highly effective. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the perceptions of Hispanic ELL middle-school students regarding the efficacy of research-informed instructional practices, as embodied in the Mathematics Teaching Practices described by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2012). Capturing Hispanic ELL student perceptions is of great importance due to the challenging situations that many Hispanic ELL students and their families face (Schneider et al., 2006) in the United States. Additionally, the concerning differences have been observed in achievement data for Hispanic and non-Hispanic students and for ELL and non-ELL students. To address the layered challenges that Hispanic ELL students face daily in school, teachers, school leaders, and researchers can turn to student consultation as one way to gather information to inform teaching practices and develop positive mathematical identities. Findings from this multi-phased qualitative case study suggest that both students and teachers value and find benefit in the use of mathematical discourse, posing of purposeful questions, and attention to multiple representations. Additional insights were uncovered as alignments and divergences between perceptions were analyzed. Recommendations for practice include promoting mathematical discourse, posing purposeful questions for multiple purposes, emphasizing multiple representations, including student voice, building mathematical identity through instruction, and leveraging alignments and divergences in perceptions.