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Eric.ed.gov – Math Literacy through French Language Learning: Connecting with the Common Core in the Lower Elementary Grades

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Among the reported proven positive results of early world Language (WL) study are improved cognitive abilities and “higher achievement test scores in reading and math” (Stewart: 11), which are expected student performance outcomes for the Common Core Standards. The future viability of Foreign Language in Elementary Schools (FLES) programs, however, is fragile at best, in today’s educational arena. FLES programs that have essentially concentrated their student performance expectations on basic communication skills and cultural content in the target language may therefore need to include a content-enriched STEM focus in order to seek and establish a viable presence in the elementary school curriculum. The authors of this paper suggest that proponents of FLES integration into the nation’s schools need to identify disciplinary literacy as the common denominator connecting WL study and the other content subjects such as math, given the fact that, “disciplinary literacy is embedded in the [Common Core] standards, and prominently featured in the new CCSS [Common Core State Standards].” Current national trends inspired the authors of this paper to conduct the present research study that involved teaching math through French in grades 2-4 in a small, urban, community-based, highly-diverse elementary school in Knoxville, TN. (Zygouis-Coe: 35). The authors of the present article sought to investigate the following questions: (1) What is the impact of content-enriched French instruction on math skills in Grades 2-4 in a specifically math-enriched FLES program? (2) What is the level of student participation and interest during French instruction compared with regular math instruction? (3) What are the regular classroom teachers’ perceptions of the impact of French instruction on the children? The results of this study help support the notion that FLES programs should be considered a core subject along with the traditional math, science, social science, language arts elementary school curricular litany so that they can serve as the Common Core Standards glue in connecting literacy across all content areas.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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