Content Instruction and ESOL, Ms. Deborah J. Short


  1. Introduction
    1. Sheltered Instruction
      1. Definition
        Sheltered Instruction: Sheltered Instruction: Sheltered Instruction is an approach for teaching content to English language learners (ELLs) in strategic ways that make the subject matter concepts comprehensible while promoting the students' English language development. (Echevarria, J., Vogt M.-E., & Short, D., 2000. Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners—The SIOP Model, Allyn and Bacon, p. 1)
        1. Content area (math, science, social studies, etc.) teachers
        2. Use of specific strategies or techniques to make the contents comprehensible to ESOL students
        3. Helping students along with second language acquisition process
      2. Strategies
        1. Identifying key language features (vocabulary, rhetorical structures, type / genre of text, language functions, etc.)
      3. Theoretical groundings
        1. Development of literacy skills
        2. Standards-based instruction
        3. Second Language Acquisition theory
        4. Use of native language (L1) and transfer skills
    2. Demographics of ESOL Students
      1. Language learning needs
        1. Immigrants
          1. all grade levels
          2. Varying degree of fluency in English
        2. Students from non-English speaking families
          1. Speak languages other than English at Tapestry Home
          2. Learn English as a second language at school
      2. Educational backgrounds
        1. Students with previous educational experiences
          1. Learn to use English "in classroom"
          2. Transfer existing knowledge through English
          3. Articulate their knowledge and demonstrate their learning through English
        2. Students with interrupted education
          1. War / Trauma
          2. Geographic isolation
          3. Family background
          4. Need specialized instruction
    3. Reform Movements & Teaching Content to ESOL Students
      For English learners to succeed, they must master not only English vocabulary and grammar but also the way English is used in core content classes. This "school English" or "academic English" includes semantic and syntactic knowledge along with functional language use (Echevarria, J., Vogt M.-E., & Short, D., 2000. p. 8).
      1. Standards-based education
        1. Valuable for all students
        2. 49 out of 50 states have standards
      2. Standards-based assessment
        1. High-stakes tests with severe implication for ESOL students with language difficulties
        2. ESOL students need specific help to attain the high standards
        3. Teacher preparation is needed for working with ESOL students
      3. ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students by Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
        1. Promoting language development in classes (ESOL & Content)
        2. Language functions across subjects
  2. Sheltered Content Instruction Model: SIOP Model
    1. Preparation - Designing effective sheltered instruction lessons
      Teachers of English language learners need to be aware that what may appear to be poor comprehension and memory skills, may in fact be a lack of, or failure to activate, the background knowledge that was assumed by a message or a text. (Bransford, J. 1994. in Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 43) Sample techniques to build vocabulary: Contextualizing key vocabulary, vocabulary self selection, personal dictionaries, word wall, concept definition map, cloze sentences, word sorts, word generation, word study books, etc. (see Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. pp. 49 - 54 for detailed explanation)
      1. Identifying / defining content objectives
      2. Defining language objectives
        1. Key vocabulary, types of writing
        2. Reading comprehension skills, discussion skills, negotiation of meaning
      3. Tying target concepts into the core curriculum or standards
      4. Implementing / preparing supplementary materials
        1. Realia, graphic organizers, visuals
        2. Reinforce information, practice learning, provide additional stimuli.
      5. Adapting content to different proficiency levels.
      6. Providing meaningful activities
        1. Content and language objectives
        2. Integration of language skills
    2. Building Background
      1. Obstacles
        1. Assumption—students have learned core concepts and skills from prior years
        2. Cultural aspects of curriculum vary among cultures
      2. Ways to build backgrounds
        1. Tying content topics into students' personal experiences
        2. Linking prior learning with new learning
          1. Identify key areas and remember them
          2. Make connections
        3. Building Vocabulary
          1. Multiple definitions of words
          2. Use in context, practice in meaningful ways
    3. Comprehensible Input
      In our observations of classes, many "behavior problems" are often the result of students not being sure what they are supposed to do. (Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 67, highlight added) The techniques we suggest in the SIOP are critical for providing meaningful, understandable lessons to students learning English, including adapting the content to students' proficiency levels; highlighting key vocabulary; using scaffolding techniques and providing opportunities for students to use strategies; and providing activities that allow students to apply newly acquired content and language knowledge. (Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 70)
      1. Comprehensible Input (Krashen, 1985)
        1. Adjusting speech & materials
        2. Helps ESOL students to learn new concepts
      2. Speech
        1. Tone of voice, speed of speech
        2. Word choice (e.g., synonyms, idioms, etc.)
      3. Academic tasks & explanation of tasks
        1. Explain tasks orally as well as in writing
        2. Provide models and examples
      4. Teaching techniques using various ESOL methods & activities
    4. Strategies
      Goal 2, Standard 3: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply their academic knowledge
      • Focusing attention selectively; that is, focusing on the "big picture" and most important information
      • Situating new learning in context, that is, building on what students already know and what is familiar
      • Applying self-monitoring and self-corrective strategies to build and expand a knowledge base; that is, knowing how to "fix-it" when comprehension is impeded
      • Evaluating one's own success in a completed learning task; that is, self-assessing one's competence and knowledge
      • Recognizing the need for and seeking assistance appropriately from others
      • Imitating the behaviors of native English speakers to complete tasks successfully
      • Knowing when to use native language resources (human and material) to promote understanding Suggested behaviors of strategy use (TESOL, 1997. ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students, p.91)
      1. Strategies
        1. Strategies used by the teacher and the students
        2. Learning strategies: learn how to learn
        3. Teachers need to provide practice opportunities within their lessons
      2. Scaffolding
        1. Verbal (Speech)
          1. Contextual definition, paraphrase, elaboration, etc.
          2. Help students understand content at the same time building language skills
        2. Instructional
          1. Graphic organizers
          2. Help students understand content
        3. Question types
          1. ESOL students can think about and respond to higher order questions
          2. Teachers are encouraged to ask higher order thinking questions. E.g. Why, how, how do you know? questions vs. factual recall questions
    5. Interaction
      Effective sheltered classes are characterized by a variety of grouping structures, including individual work, partners, triads, small groups of four or five, cooperative learning groups, and whole-group. Groups also vary in that they may be homogeneous or heterogeneous by gender, language proficiency, language background, and/or ability. (Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 104) Benefits of using a variety of group configuration
      1. The variety of groups helps to maintain students' interest
      2. Varying group structures increases the chance that a student's preferred mode of instruction will be matched (Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 104)
      1. Speaking Opportunities
        1. Lack of opportunities for students to speak with one another about the content
        2. Research findings—the more ESOL students speak and use English, the more rapidly they acquire English and become proficient in both social and academic uses of English
        3. Teachers need to provide opportunities for students to talk to each other in pairs or in small groups, as well as to the teacher
        4. Teachers serve as fluent language model
        5. Even in interactions among non-native speakers, students learn language skills such as clarification, confirmation, negotiation of meaning, etc.
      2. Grouping configuration (grouping decisions should be made based on the following)
        1. Participants and direction of communication
        2. Linguistic and content objectives
      3. Wait time
        1. It is important to allow enough time for ESOL students to process the question, think, and answer in English
        2. Keeping all students working (for example advanced students): write / compare / share
      4. Use of students' native language
        1. Students with strong native language literacy are most successful in their second language literacy (i.e., English)
        2. Students may be allowed to use their native language in their learning, such as for clarification, confirmation, learning a new concept, or gathering information
    6. Practice & Application
      Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are complex, cognitive language processes that are interrelated and integrated. (Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 123)
      1. Effective SI teachers will not only present new information to students but also provide opportunities to practice using the new concepts and to apply the knowledge to other areas
      2. Help students apply the content knowledge as well as language skills through activities that include
        1. Hands-on materials
        2. Active movement
    7. Lesson Delivery
      Three aspects of student engagement
      1. Allocated time
      2. Engaged time
      3. Academic learning time
      (Berliner, 1984. The half-full glass: A review of research on teaching. In P.L. Hosford (Ed.), Using what we know about teaching, pp. 51-77, Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Appropriate pace is critical for English language learners. Information that is presented at a pace suitable for native English speakers may render that information meaningless, especially for beginning English speakers. Finding the right pace for a lesson depends in part on the content of the lesson and students' prior knowledge about the topic. (Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 138-9)
      1. Did lesson delivery support the target content and language objectives?
        1. Reflect on the lesson after the class and compare to the original plan
      2. Engagement of students
        1. In an effective SI lesson, students will be engaged 90 -100 % of the time
        2. Lessons that engage students less than 50% of the time are problematic
      3. Pacing of the lesson
        1. Be sensitive to the needs of ESOL students; e.g., Do ESOL students need more discussion or more practice? Did they learn the new concepts?
    8. Review / Assessment
      A more structured review might involve students summarizing with partners, written activities, or listing key points on the board.(Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 149) Examples of Group response assessment: Thumbs up/Thumbs down, number wheels, response boards, etc. (See Echevarria, J., et al., 2000. p. 155-6 for more explanation)
      1. It is important to review both language and content objectives.
      2. Key points of the lesson ( Help students understand)
        1. What they need to know
        2. What they need to review
      3. Key vocabulary & language development
      4. Providing (informal) feedback
      5. Assessing the achievement of target objectives
  3. Teacher Educators: What teacher educators need to know: collaboration through SI and knowledge of SLA process
    1. Collaboration of teacher educators
      1. Interdisciplinary collaboration
        1. Target objectives - help ESOL students develop English language skills at the same time they learn the core content areas
      2. Involving specialists
        1. Strategies for content learning (content area teachers)—social studies, math, science, etc.
        2. Strategies for adapting (ESOL specialists)—adapting curriculum materials and/or textbooks for ESOL students
    2. Understanding second language acquisition process
      1. Various factors affecting the acquisition process: time required, age of arrival in the U.S., level of native language literacy skills, etc.
      2. Distinction between social and academic English
        1. Social English (BICS): 1-3 years to acquire, everyday conversations
        2. Academic English (CALP): requires background understandings and academic skills, and will take 5-10 years to acquire, depending on student's previous educational experiences and type of current ESOL / bilingual program she or he is placed in
  4. Preservice Teachers: What all preservice teachers need to know: Theory, practice, & resources
    1. Understanding theory and culture
      1. Grounding in second language acquisition theory
      2. Cross cultural communication
      3. Some knowledge about educational systems and experiences that LEP students had in their native countries
    2. Developing SI curriculum
      1. All teachers will be teachers of English and teachers of a particular content area
      2. Combination of several content areas for the creation of a thematic curriculum
      3. Understanding different ESOL methods and techniques that help make content comprehensible and develop language skills among students
    3. Observation of classes
      1. Content area classes with ESOL students
      2. Observing ESL specialists and content area teachers
      3. Identify successful strategies
    4. Resources
      1. ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students (TESOL, 1997)
      2. Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners: The SIOP Model (Echevarria, J., Vogt, M.-E., Short, D. 2000. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon)
    5. Preservice teachers will benefit from
      1. Opportunities to design sheltered instruction lessons
      2. Learning how to examine potential materials: Are they standards-based, do they provide language development activities for students, and guidance to teachers?
      3. High Point : Grade 6-12 (Carmel, CA: Hampton Brown)