English Learners may face challenges in science and math due to gaps in conceptual knowledge, procedural understanding, vocabulary acquisition and written justification of ideas.
Consider the following supports for the different language domains.
Initiation/Response/Evaluation is 80% of classroom interaction! That is not always effective or helpful when working with language learners! Instead, try some of the following when you return in the new year!
You may want to assess content and language separately so they are not penalized for their gaps in English when trying to master concepts. We hope this helps!
Marzano in Building Background Knowledge (2004) states that there are 6 essential steps in effective vocabulary instruction.
1. The teacher provides a description or explanation rather than a definition.
Speaking and Listening activities may be challenging for English Learners (ELs) but they form the basis of language processing. Oral language is a key part of CCSS as students are expected to engage in collaborative discussions (asking questions and presenting ideas) to further learning.
Here are a few LISTENING activities to try within your instruction:
It has been a crazy few weeks but we are finally set to launch our blog. Here you will find monthly (possibly biweekly) posts about working with English Learners and cool new resources that will save you some time and angst.
Here at Lincoln, we see a wide range of home languages and language proficiency in English. But recently, there has been an increase in students we call "newcomers". Quite literally, they are new to the country. Many have moved here to be closer to family and in search of work and better opportunities. Depending on their country of origin, they may have received no formal schooling, formal schooling in a language other than English, or formal schooling with introductory English. These students are adjusting to a whole new way of home life, while trying to make sense of the language and American schooling. Here are some things to try to make them feel comfortable:
- Reach out to the parents. Whether you speak the home language, or use Google Translate, it speaks volumes when they know a teacher is trying to connect with them.
- Find out if they might need basic necessities and connect them to the appropriate person at school for resources (e.g. Food Gatherers or Warming the Winter)
- Technology has come a long way. If you have access to a tablet, or feel comfortable with using translation apps on your phone, you can really empower these kids to communicate with you.
- From an instructional point of view, KNOW that language proficiency takes 5-7 YEARS to develop...so give them plenty of opportunities to interact with basic words and visual representations.
We will have more for you at our September PD next week. The next PD will take place on Monday, Oct 3 and we will focus on Listening and Speaking skills as well as using WIDA for instruction.