Integrating Language and Mathematics Learning

Apart from acquiring oral, written, and reading skills in English, they also need to learn to use these skills in content areas like mathematics and science.Mathematics is defined as The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols or a science (or group of related sciences) dealing with the logic of quantity and shape and arrangement. (www.thefreedictionary.com)Information about various subjects is communicated using mathematics, and in this respect it is often considered a language with its own vocabulary and grammar. Mathematical symbols from many alphabets and fonts constitute the vocabulary, and mathematical logic which decides the validity or otherwise of a mathematical argument and forms the grammar of mathematics. All academic language is more abstract than social language. Because this is particularly so in math and science, these subjects present a special challenge to English learners. These students must be explicitly taught to use academic language. (Muir)Contrary to common perceptions, mathematics has its foundations in attempts to describe and solve real life issues. Concrete examples include the need to measure farms using geometry, understanding why apples fall with the aid of calculus and understanding the risks in gambling using probability. Mathematics does also involve the study of some areas which deal with abstract matters lacking any known physical manifestations.Though the ability to handle numbers with ease and use of mathematics are crucial to employability and job success, LEP students are often denied the required level of mathematics education since it was believed that English language skills had to be acquired before even basic mathematical or computational skills could be taught. A compartmentalized system of language and mathematics education was the norm for LEP students, but recent research suggests that integrating language and