Research has indicated over the years that English learners (ELs) are not supported to achieve their goals in learning academic content and acquiring English. Despite a growing body of research on the essential teacher knowledge-base for teaching ELs and effective linguistically-responsive teacher education, there is still a dearth of research on candidate content teachers’ reasoning and instructional decision-making especially regarding teaching mathematics to ELs. This paper explored how a group of ten future mathematics teachers reasoned about a handful of scenarios illustrative of teaching mathematics to ELs. Qualitative analyses of the candidates’ discourse revealed that pre-service mathematics teachers’ perceptions of ELs fell on a continuum ranging from viewing ELs as one homogeneous group of learners to viewing them as heterogeneous in their proficiency levels, cultures, and academic needs. The second pattern was related to candidates’ views as to what effective EL-teaching meant to them. In that, their views about effective EL-teaching also fell on a continuum ranging from the belief in removing all the linguistic demands from the particular mathematics content to convictions about recognizing and incorporating the linguistic demands of the content.



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