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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"Menos y menos da más": Using Spanish as the Language of Instruction with English Learners in Algebra 1

  • Author(s): Diaz, Marco Antonio
  • Advisor(s): Franke, Megan L.
  • Gándara, Patricia
  • et al.

This study examines the use of Spanish as the language of instruction with Spanish dominant EL students in a 9th grade Algebra 1 classroom. The study documents conceptions of mathematical symbols at the start and at the end of the academic year of two groups of students; one receiving primary language instruction and another receiving sheltered English instruction. Students receiving primary language instruction demonstrated a considerable amount of prior knowledge about the equal sign and basic conceptions of variable at the start of the study and were found to have a nuanced understanding of variable and showed greater growth in their understandings of the minus sign than did the students receiving sheltered English instruction.

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