Bridging the gap for learners whose first language is not English.

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I spend my days talking to people about changing the discourse. An influential speaker, Rosemary Campbell-Stevens, who works with leaders throughout the UK through the NCSL talks about changing the discourse because the one we have used for the last 20 years hasn’t worked. And I can only agree with her, we still leave children needing to communicate in their home language without an interface to do so, whether that’s electronic, mechanical or human. We wouldn’t put up with it ourselves so why leave our children to live through the mine field that is communication.

To help learners achieve their best and bridge the gap between their current knowledge and their level of understanding I have created a dual language maths book. The concept of dual language is not to delay the learning of English but to increase the speed and level of understanding. For example in the book there are the four operations division, subtraction, addition and subtraction. Each operation has a two page spread, the first page explores the terms we use in both English and the learners home language. Division can also be written shared, as a fraction or as with a division sign. The learners are explained the terminology and given examples. The next page is a series of dual language examples, leading them to a set of questions that they try for themselves. The benefit of this is that the gap in language understanding is taken up by the book and within a short space of time the learner can work on the same questions as their peer group.

The benefits of the maths books are the speed in which the learner can undertake class work and the higher level of understanding when the do. It is a matter of changing the discourse and bridging the gap with thoughtfully created materials that help improve the learners understanding.

Dual language maths books can be found on the EMAS UK website www.emasuk.com and currently cost £15 per book or £300 for a full set of 22 books. Differentiated resources that allow everyone to be on the same work at the same time.

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