Student Voices

English language learner students in a South Texas school district were surveyed by IDRA in 2008. Below is a sample of their responses.

What are some things teachers do that really help you learn in class?

  • When they take time to help you, and when they make the environment a lot more comfortable and fun. When they have a sense of humor.
  • They ask us if we understand and if we don’t they’ll go all over again until we understand.
  • Nothing, because this teacher explains very fast.

What are some things teachers do that really help you learn math?

  • They teach us step by step until everybody learns it.
  • She explains the lesson in different ways.
  • We work with blocks/tiles and shapes.
  • Making the sentence smaller and easy to learn.
  • Sometimes my math teacher helps me, but she talks very fast and she is always angry with us.
  • They make games out of math problems and they make smart ways to remember stuff.

When did you enjoy learning math the most? Why?

  • I enjoy it when I get it.
  • In groups, it gives opinions from others.
  • When the teacher makes it fun or funny.
  • When we do group experiments.
  • I don’t like it because I don’t understand.
  • When the teacher would show us how to do the problems.
  • When we use the calculators.
  • When we used graphs, because I like drawing!

Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at

[©2009, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form . Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]