The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), includes mathematics as a goal of instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs). While not all ELLs will need instruction in math content, all will need to learn the language for thinking about and solving math problems in English.  Integrating math into ESL instruction will enable students to improve the math and language skills needed in everyday situations and in the workplace, as well as build a foundation for further academic work.

To help students accomplish this goal, ESL instructors need to understand basic math concepts for themselves and how to teach them effectively. Math Refresher Modules for ESL Instructors are a series of online professional development activities designed for ESL teachers to review and update math skills, concepts, and procedures, as well as to learn how standards-based math is taught today. 

Course Content

Through these Math Refresher Modules, ESL instructors will revisit or learn:

  • Basic math concepts from the Illinois ESL Content Standards which are aligned with the Illinois ABE/ASE Content Standards for Mathematics
  • Processes and strategies for problem solving
  • Teaching techniques for helping ELLs develop their math skills

Modules available now:

  • Module 1: Numeracy, Place Value, Addition and Subtraction
  • Module 2: Multiplication and Division
  • Module 3: Fractions

Future modules:

  • Module 4: Decimal Numbers and Percent
  • Module 5: Geometry, Data and Statistics
  • Module 6: Systems of Measurement and Solving Word Problems

Even if you consider yourself to be proficient in math, it is recommended to start with Module 1 to see the groundwork of teaching math for conceptual understanding right from the beginning. If you have students in your classroom that need basic math skills, this module will give you ideas on how to instruct them.

Photo of Teaching Adults: A Math Resource Book

Modules 1, 2, and 3 require the use of the  professional textbook, Teaching Adults: A Math Resource Book by Libby Serkies, published by New Reader's Press, along with one or more online resource for each topic. Participants must supply their own books. A limited number of copies are available to borrow from the Adult Learning Resource Center's library which can be accessed here. The book can also be purchased from New Reader's Press.



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