This course is designed for teachers who work with K-12 students who have linguistic and cultural challenges in mathematics classrooms. Our goal is to help teachers understand the needs of various English language learners (ELLs), use ELLs’ language and culture as a resource in mathematics classrooms, and implement research-based instructional strategies that have been recommended to teach mathematics for ELLs. 

Course Goals

After completing this course, students will be able to: 

  1. Understand various needs and capabilities of ELLs in learning mathematics.
  2. Use ELLs’ languages as a resource, not a deficit and learn to use multiple modes of communication.
  3. Implement research-based strategies to teach ELLs in order to maximize their learning through cognitively demanding mathematical activities and differentiate teaching practice corresponding to ELLs.
  4. Support ELLs’ participation in mathematical discussion as they learn English.

Registration Options

Spring 2022; January 18-May 13 

The course is taught 100% online through Canvas Free-for-Teacher. Students will read text related to the content, watch case study videos, interact with other students via discussion forums and submit investigations (assignments). There are strongly suggested deadlines for each course activity, but students are free to work at their own pace within those dates.

Participants can take the course for free or for credit. Space is limited for those who want to take the course for credit:

Option 1: Free course for teachers and other educators interested in learning how to better teach mathematics to ELL students. You can see materials, but credits are not given even if you submit all assignments.

Option 2 (EDUC 593G): K-12 teachers and other educators interested in getting licensure renewal (LR) credits as they learn to become better math teachers for ELL students (1, 2, or 3 credit hours, $85/credit). Space for LR course credit is limited to 15 students and registration is open.

Online registration for EDUC 593G

Option 3 (CI/EDUC 502): Preservice and in-service teachers interested in getting ISU graduate-level credits (a total of 3 credits – ISU tuition = $1692 plus fees) as they work to become effective math teachers for ELL students. The ISU elementary education students may use this course as one of the electives for mathematics endorsement, and the ISU master’s students in M.A.T. may use this course as one of their course or elective requirements. 

Course registration for current ISU students is through AccessPlus.

Required Text

I, Ji-Yeong, and Ricardo Martinez. 2020. Teaching Math for Emergent Bilinguals: Building on Culture, Language, and Identity. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Digital Press.


Ji Yeong I is an associate professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University with expertise in mathematics education and ELLs/multicultural students. She has been working with K-12 teachers and provide various professional development sessions with regard to teaching mathematics to/for ELLs. Her recent research has been published in:

  • ZDM – The International Journal on Mathematics Education on Language and Communication
  • Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics
  • Teaching Children Mathematics
  • Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice

Need More Information?

Clyciane Kossatz Michelini

Instructional Designer, CTLT