Examining English Language Learners' Learning Needs Through the Lens of Algebra Curriculum Materials

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Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education




Curriculum materials have a substantial influence on mathematics instruction and, consequently, students’ learning opportunities. Many curriculum programs provide instructional notes for teachers and tasks for students as a means of accommodating particular student groups, such as those identified for English language learners. The presence of such materials communicates a narrative about the students they seek to accommodate. In particular, this narrative entails what English language learners need to learn mathematics. We examined the curriculum materials in four commercially available curriculum programs to understand the learning opportunities they provide for the target group and their assumed needs inferred from analyzing those opportunities. We found the curriculum materials implied a homogenous view of English language learners as a group who requires mathematical remediation and additional vocabulary practice. The curriculum materials provided a narrow set of learning opportunities, in terms of both mathematics and language, and may reinforce teachers’ existing deficit perspectives.

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Educational Studies in Mathematics

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