Facilitating the Participation of Latino English language Learners: Learning from an Effective Teacher

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Throughout my career, I have collaborated with dedicated and hard-working teachers who have opened their classrooms so that others could learn from them. Yet, one teacher, Sara, stood out from all the others. From the first time I visited Sara's classroom in 1992, I knew she was extraordinary--a teacher who could inspire a Hollywood production. Sara taught Latino English language learners (ELLs) in a low-income urban neighborhood in ways that I had not observed or read about in the literature. She did not reduce the curriculum's level of complexity, especially its language, even though the students were ELLs. Instead, Sara engineered a mathematics learning environment where students actively engaged in collaborative problem solving, oral and written communication and justification, and independent thinking. To give other practitioners insight into how Sara facilitated the participation of ELLs during mathematics, I share my experiences of researching Sara's fifth-grade classroom and provide images of her teaching.
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