Mathematics Acquisition and Immigrant Children

Mathematics Acquisition and Immigrant Children

Judi Simmons Estes (Park University, USA) and Dong Hwa Choi (Park University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4928-6.ch007
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Given that early mathematics education lays the foundation for later mathematics achievement, teachers of young children have the responsibility and challenge of providing effective mathematics instruction to all children, including those who are immigrants. This chapter discusses four key points relevant to mathematics acquisition and immigrant children: (a) bilingualism as an asset, (b) strengths of immigrant families, (c) teachers' mathematical knowledge, and (d) developmentally appropriate mathematics environment. It is suggested that institutions of higher education, administrators, and teachers of young children consider those four key points, and that each topic is linked to on-going professional development for the purpose of effective instruction.
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One of the top domestic issues in the United States is the low educational achievement of a majority of immigrant youth, typically defined as children under the age of eighteen who are foreign born or U.S.-born to immigrant parents. These children represent 25% of the nations' 75 million children (Passel, 2011); immigrant children are the fastest growing segment of the nations' population of children (Hernandez, 2004). This impacts teacher and school programs throughout the United States. For example, during the ten year period between the 1997-1998 school year and 2007-2008 school year, the following states had significant increases in students with English as a second language: South Carolina (827.8% increase), Indiana (409.8%) and Arkansas (287.1%) (Batalova & McHugh, 2010). While Spanish is the predominant language spoken by immigrant children, there are approximately 450 languages represented among students in public schools in the U.S. (Kindler, 2002).

Clearly, the demographics of the student population in America’s schools is changing. Public schools are expected to be places of integration for children of immigrants. The need to serve immigrant children in rural, suburban, and urban schools will have an impact in every state and will continue to increase. Teachers are being challenged to have the knowledge and confidence to provide effective instruction for all students, including those who are immigrants. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss four key issues relevant to mathematics acquisition and immigrant children:

  • 1.

    Bilingualism as an asset,

  • 2.

    Strengths of immigrant families,

  • 3.

    Teachers' knowledge of mathematics, and

  • 4.

    Developmentally appropriate mathematical curriculum.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Manka M. Varghese
Jared Keengwe, Grace Onchwari
Jared Keengwe
Chapter 1
Luciana C. de Oliveira, Marshall Klassen, Alsu Gilmetdinova
This chapter presents a case study of a kindergarten classroom and examines how a kindergarten teacher uses scaffolding to diversify instruction in... Sample PDF
Scaffolding to Support English Language Learners in a Kindergarten Classroom
Chapter 2
Kim Stevens Barker
Lagging high school graduation rates for English Learners remains a priority concern for states across the nation, and educators under pressure from... Sample PDF
Innovative Ideas for Tutoring and Mentoring Young English Learners
Chapter 3
Ursula Thomas
Change is the only constant. This is the mantra for immigrant children and those who serve them. Schools and communities are employing various... Sample PDF
The Effect of New Environments on Children’s Language Ability: A Case Study
Chapter 4
Erin M. Casey
This chapter presents findings on the importance of engaging early childhood English Language Learners (ELLs) and immigrant students in literacy... Sample PDF
Using Literacy Response Activities with Early Childhood English Language Learners and Immigrant Students
Chapter 5
Anita Bright, Michael Ames Connor
As each child arrives in school with a series of family-provided and possibly previous-schooling-provided memories and experiences to draw from... Sample PDF
Building on What They Bring: Special Considerations when Working with Young Immigrant Students in Mathematics
Chapter 6
Colleen Gallagher
Being able to use linguistically appropriate instruction is an important area of competence for teachers of young emergent bilinguals. This chapter... Sample PDF
Supporting Emergent Bilinguals through Linguistically Appropriate Instruction
Chapter 7
Judi Simmons Estes, Dong Hwa Choi
Given that early mathematics education lays the foundation for later mathematics achievement, teachers of young children have the responsibility and... Sample PDF
Mathematics Acquisition and Immigrant Children
Chapter 8
Cate Crosby
Immigrant children are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. According to the U.S. Department of Education (2008), young immigrant... Sample PDF
Effective Teaching Practices for Academic Literacy Development of Young Immigrant Learners
Chapter 9
Joan Oigawa Aus
The United States has experienced a large growth in the number of immigrant students who speak English as a non-native language. The results of a... Sample PDF
“I’m Not from the Dominant Culture!”: Instructional Practices for Teachers of Culturally Diverse Students
Chapter 10
Afra Ahmed Hersi
This chapter examines the transnational nature of African immigrant students’ experiences in the United States. In two case studies of students from... Sample PDF
Transnational Immigration and Family Context: What Teachers Should Know
Chapter 11
Joy Cowdery
As rural Appalachian schools in Ohio struggle to overcome institutional bias and lack of understanding to accommodate the needs of the growing... Sample PDF
Living on the Fringe: Immigration and English Language Learners in Appalachian Ohio
Chapter 12
G. Sue Kasun, Cinthya M. Saavedra
Young immigrant youth often live their lives across borders, either by physically crossing them for return visits and/or by metaphorically crossing... Sample PDF
Crossing Borders toward Young Transnational Lives
Chapter 13
Elizabeth Bishop
This chapter discusses the recent findings of the Drop Knowledge Project in New York City (DKPNYC). The DKPNYC is a cultural studies research... Sample PDF
Students on the Rise: Learning with Immigrant Youth in Out-of-School Spaces of Community Activism
Chapter 14
Grace Onchwari
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 18.9 percent of elementary and middle school teachers are from diverse backgrounds. Only 15... Sample PDF
Preparing Teachers to be Effective in Cross-Cultural Learning Environments
Chapter 15
Anita Rao Mysore
One in four children in the US has a parent who is an immigrant. Studies indicate that by and large such students are at-risk for learning and their... Sample PDF
Multicultural Curricular Frameworks for Preservice Teachers
Chapter 16
Jacqueline Onchwari
This chapter focuses on strengths and protective factors immigrant children bring into the classroom. If well nurtured, these strengths can enhance... Sample PDF
Protective Factors Immigrant Children Bring to the Classroom
Chapter 17
Esther Ntuli, Arnold Nyarambi
Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. Assessment data is gathered to monitor progress and developmental gains in child... Sample PDF
Using Technology to Address the Challenges to Effective Assessment of Young Learners who are Immigrants
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