Who are we....?
Who are we and why have we made this website full with great math tutorial learning materials? The answer is less exciting than we would like to admit. We are not web programmers, nor are we professional math book publishers (as you probably figured out!).
We are a group of ESL math teachers from different backgrounds and countries. Some of us have years of experience in teaching math in ‘normal’ or ESL settings and for others this is a completely new venture and experience! What bind us are the schools and students we work for! We are all working as ‘ESL’ (or MEP) math teachers in Asia.
The term ESL math teacher is in our opinion a risky description of what we are doing. Students in, for example, Thailand and Vietnam, can hardly communicate in English. Too often when you ask a student “how old are you?”, you’ll get the answer “I am fine”. Let's call being a teacher in this learning environment challenging.
In the emerging economies around the globe, English language instruction in the form of English Programs (EP and MEP) is big business! Place a white native teacher, qualified or not, in front of the class and parents are lining up to hand over substantial amounts of tuition fees.
Hopefully for our students, we take our jobs very serious! Qualified as teachers or not! We all recognize the challenges we are facing and the impossibilities of teaching math in English to students who can hardly speak English. Through internet forums, we discuss our problems (excuse us, challenges) on how to reach and motivate our students. The books we work with, for example, are written for native speakers of English and not for your average 7 year old Chinese kid!
We all agree that we had to remake our learning materials and rewrite the exercises we teach! How does a Vietnamese student understand math word problems on baseball scores? Or how do you explain a Chinese student about Thanksgiving Day. That's, for what mathematics concerns, a waste of time!
But just rewriting material was not sufficient! Even with less culturally biased, more local orientated maths learning materials and situations we faced difficultiesIf you have a teacher in front of the class who speaks Martian, how long can you pay attention to him or her? Student engagement, in our opinion, is strongly related to whether the teacher is interesting or not!
For a teacher to be interesting, you need to understand him! And that’s why we developed materials that are perceived as games. Based on the principles of Brain-Based Learning we created math materials that looked like puzzles. By using crosswords, word searches, brain teasers, even our Asian students loved to study math in English.
By using puzzles and making math a game, we managed to reach our students and could clearly see learning progress! Over the years we have collected some of our primary math materials and decided to put them online! Please understand that this is just a fraction of the materials we have.
It will take some time (probably years) to let this website grow to what we feel it could potentially become. We would like other teachers around the world, facing similar challenges, to download our materials and adjust it any way wanted! We would also love to receive feedback (positive or negative) and especially new ideas! So please contact us (click here) and tell us what you think. We would really appreciate it if you could put our weblink on your website (back link), so that we can continue our challenging web work.
The www.mathinenglish.com team