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Gary --
    I agree with many of your comments. It was for this reason I became a
certified Reading Specialist and focused on Reading in the Math Classroom.
I must admit, though, that I let the credential lapse because I no longer
have the patience to deal with a group of high school students.  I also
earned a master's in Learning Disabilities and have worked to incorporate
many of the techniques I learned there into my college classroom as well.
Any strategy designed to introduce a student to the language of math must
start where the student is and then extend the concepts.  My particular
method is to introduce the terms, relate them to something the student should
already know, and then go further.  In the beginning, I will use everyday
language to describe something and then repeat the same thing using
mathematical language. After a bit of that I gradually switch to using the
mathematical term first and eventually drop the everyday language altogether.
I also give my students hints to help them remember the definitions (the
denominator is down, you commute back and forth to work, I distribute
handouts to each person in the class, the median of the highway...).
However, I do not have a facility with languages other than my own.  Many
times my ESL students do not want to show me their limited English skills --
especially in front of the class -- and will only do so privately (which I
encourage) or not admit it at all. These students need something in their
native language to help them form a frame of reference and relate the new
material to what they already know. It was while watching my non-English
students in the computer lab that this was really brought home to me. Since
the student can work at his or her own pace, a dictionary can be pulled out
and terminology checked. In spite of my efforts to introduce the vocabulary
and it's meaning, these students may need more. Fortunately for my students,
we have an ESL specialist working in our Learning Center and she gives me
great ideas. I also talk with the other ESL people on staff and ask for their
ideas. However, some of my students need something to rely upon while still
learning the nuances of the English language as well as the English
mathematical language. It is for this reason that I am trying to research the
subject.



MaryLiz Pierce
GateWay Community College
Phoenix, AZ