Module 7

Dealing with Deficiencies and Excellency in the Mathematics for Proficiency of Immigrants Students.


This module is part of:
  • Mathematics and Science Subject dimension: (inter)cultural perspectives on the subjects themselves.
  • Mathematics and Science Education dimension: pedagogical issues, in particular in respect to dealing with diversity in classrooms.
General overview and aim

The aim of this module is to enable prospective teachers to foster an appreciative classroom atmosphere, create a good and shared learning environment, and develop teaching approaches in accordance to the different achievement levels of their pupils.

The module will prepare prospective teachers to work with immigrant pupils of secondary school age and above – all of them having widely divergent learning backgrounds in mathematics. On the one hand, there are those students who did not learn basic arithmetic operations or left school with only primary school knowledge. On the other hand, there are those pupils who may know mathematics on a level far ahead of the local or national curriculum. The public rhetoric about immigrant pupils often follows a deficiency perspective. But in this module we will not only consider possible deficits, but will also take a strength-oriented perspective – and thus prepare prospective teachers for immigrant pupils who excel the local or national curriculum in parts (or entirely) (Clarkson (2006), Löwing (2000), OECD (2006), Zevenberger (2000)).

Relevant topics

In this module, students will reflect on how assessment can be used in order to organise teaching in a way that challenge and support all students, with specific attention to students of different backgrounds and language skills. Topics relevant for this module are:

  • mathematical competence
  • assessment
  • diversity in classrooms,
  • building on pupils’ knowledge and abilities
Learning Outcomes

After completing this module prospective teachers will be able to:

  • Describe the connection between language, culture and teaching in mathematics;
  • Assess pupils’ pre-knowledge in mathematics in order to develop valid teaching strategies – and understand the importance and interdependence of diagnosis and the development of competences of the individual learner;
  • Explain how pupils’ previous experiences and cultural backgrounds can be used as a resource and a starting point in mathematics teaching;
  • Discern their own and the pupils’ understandings of fundamental concepts in mathematics and know how to address different understandings in class;
  • Understand the need of collaboration between teachers of different age groups as well as collaboration with language teachers – in order to get support in working with pupils whose maths/science or language proficiencies are very different from the average level in class.
Module (Teacher)

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Worksheets (Students)

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Lecture Presentation



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