Exploiting the Power of Multiple Languages for Mathematics Learning

The ML2 project fills a very important demand in current school teaching and learning, namely to better accommodate the increasing linguistic diversity that exists in many mathematics classrooms today, particular in large cities. The project aims to make learners’ multiple language into a resource for learning, and as such, attempts to bring academic research showing the potentials of multiple languages for learning mathematics into the mathematics classroom in a practical way.


Research has for instance shown that speaking multiple languages has
many benefits for learning mathematics, among them:

  • Conceptual Understanding: When students can talk about mathematics in their home language, they have additional resources for meaning making in mathematics, such as connecting to their everyday experiences. As a result, students can gain a deeper conceptual understanding of mathematics.
  • Identity and Agency: When students are encouraged to use their home languages for learning, they feel that their identity is relevant and is valued;
  • World Citizenship: When students learn mathematics by connecting multiple languages, they develop their literacy in more than one language. This way they can become world citizens.


The ML2 project has the following

  1. To design and evaluate Open Educational Resources that engage learners in using their multiple languages to better understand central mathematical concepts (fractions, even numbers, variables,…), together with didactical guidelines for teachers to use these resources.
  2. To co-create Proffessional Development opportunities (PDs) with- and for teachers to develop their expertise to harness the potentials of their learners’ multiple languages in the mathematics classroom, by using the Open Educational Resources as starting point.
  3. To develop interactive guidelines and videos for teachers and teacher educators for how to practically utilize learners’ multiple languages for the learning and teaching of mathematics.  


To achieve its objectives, the ML2 project is organized in
two phases:

Phase 1

In this first phase, the project works with teachers and schools with high number of multilingual learners to conduct a pilot implementation of the designed OER and a series of reflective activities on how teachers can utilise the OER to its full potential with multilingual learners. These activities take place in diverse language constellations in respective national contexts of the project partners. The results from phase 1 informs phase 2 of the project on what PD activities are required to support teachers in realizing the OER and to support their expertise in facilitating effective learning to multilingual learners.

Phase 2

In the second phase of the project, PD activities are designed to facilitate teachers to develop their expertise for being responsive to linguistic diversity in the mathematics classroom. In the implementation stage of the PD activities, in each country, a group of mathematics teachers will be engaged in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) that is organized around their own experimentation with the OER in typical cycles of collective inquiry. In the evaluation stage, the project examines the effects of the OER and the PD opportunities on mathematics teachers’ expertise in facilitating effective learning to multilingual learners.