English Learners: Creating Language-Rich Instruction for English-Language Learners

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<ul><li><p>English Learners: Creating Language-Rich Instruction for English-Language LearnersAuthor(s): Eurydice Bouchereau Bauer and Patrick C. ManyakSource: The Reading Teacher, Vol. 62, No. 2 (Oct., 2008), pp. 176-178Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Reading AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20203099 .Accessed: 28/06/2014 18:53</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Wiley and International Reading Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to The Reading Teacher.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 18:53:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=blackhttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=irahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/20203099?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>ENGLISH LEARNERS </p><p>Creating Language-Rich Instruction </p><p>for English-Language Learners </p><p>Eurydice Bouchereau Bauer, Patrick C Manyak </p><p>In this particular column, we address the benefits </p><p>of language-rich classrooms for English-language </p><p>learners (ELL). Classrooms that are language-rich </p><p>provide the ideal environment for accelerating ELLs' </p><p>oral language and academic vocabulary develop ment. These classrooms recognize that language de </p><p>velopment, whether in a first or a second language, occurs in social contexts and through purposeful so </p><p>cial interactions. Ernst and Richard (1995) stated it in </p><p>this manner: </p><p>Children learn their first language by using language as a means to communicate with real people and in </p><p>real situations. The same applies for students who are </p><p>learning a second language (p. 326). </p><p>Just as speakers of a first language must engage </p><p>in frequent, meaning-centered interactions with </p><p>speakers of that language, so should ELLs. What we </p><p>describe in this column are ways to support ELLs' </p><p>language development broadly and literacy develop ment in particular. We organize the column in terms </p><p>of teacher approaches that create rich contexts for </p><p>the development of language skills and conversa </p><p>tional strategies. </p><p>Supporting the Development of Language Skills The central element of all instruction for ELLs should </p><p>be to make rich language comprehensible (Garcia, </p><p>2003,2008). Garcia explained that teachers should ac </p><p>company oral explanations and teacher read-alouds </p><p>with visuals, realia, gestures, and dramatization to il </p><p>lustrate key concepts and vocabulary. Teachers must </p><p>find ways to activate and build students' background </p><p>knowledge through the use of visuals, demonstra </p><p>tions, and graphic organizers. Teachers also should </p><p>move away from the old adage that oral language </p><p>precedes written language skills. That means that </p><p>ELLs should be encouraged to read at their appro </p><p>priate levels and have ample opportunities to hear </p><p>rich, visually stimulating stories read aloud. When </p><p>possible, hands-on experiences should precede the </p><p>reading of text. For example, after having second </p><p>graders keep logs of the week's weather, a teacher </p><p>reviewed the content of the weather unit by reading </p><p>aloud Weather by Seymour Simon. The teacher used </p><p>the illustrations in the book to generate talk among </p><p>the students around key concepts and vocabulary: </p><p>Teacher: </p><p>Student 1: </p><p>Student 2: </p><p>Teacher: </p><p>Student 3: </p><p>Student 1: </p><p>Teacher: </p><p>Student 2: </p><p>Teacher: </p><p>Students: </p><p>Teacher: </p><p>Students: </p><p>I heard someone say rain was coming </p><p>because of the clouds. What is another </p><p>word for rain? </p><p>Shower </p><p>Thunderstorm </p><p>Anything else? </p><p>Precipitation </p><p>Pouring </p><p>What does that mean if it is pouring? </p><p>It rains a lot. </p><p>What does it sound like? </p><p>[all made the sound of pouring rain </p><p>by patting their laps with their hands </p><p>quickly] </p><p>How is that different from a rain shower? </p><p>[made droplet sounds using the tip of </p><p>their fingers and changing the tempo] </p><p>The Reading Teacher, 62(2), pp. 176-178 ? 2008 International Reading Association </p><p>176 DOL10.1598/RT.62.2.10 ISSN: 0034-0561 print/1936-2714 online </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 18:53:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>As the students and teacher discussed the weath </p><p>er terms, the teacher wrote them on the board. It </p><p>is clear from the above example that students are </p><p>learning the concepts related to weather but are </p><p>also developing their English-language skills. During </p><p>instruction, teachers should avoid the use of idioms </p><p>and provide students with ample time to respond to </p><p>teacher questions. Of course, if we are to encourage oral language use, it is imperative that students are </p><p>given the opportunity to use the language resources </p><p>at their disposal. Ultimately, the classrooms must be </p><p>inviting places where language (home language and </p><p>school language) flourish and students are willing to </p><p>take the linguistic risks necessary for their language </p><p>development. It is within this environment that teach </p><p>ers have the best opportunity to observe and support students' reading. </p><p>Another way that teachers can support language </p><p>development is by visually presenting information </p><p>that highlights cognates (Williams, 2001). A common </p><p>error that teachers make is that they presume that </p><p>students will automatically make the connections </p><p>between cognates. One way that teachers can make </p><p>clear the role of cognates as a tool is to extend the </p><p>idea of a word wall. Typically, a word wall is found </p><p>in the lower grades and tends to focus on common </p><p>words that students encounter. In classrooms with </p><p>Spanish-speaking ELLs, teachers would select words </p><p>from the content being studied that share English/ </p><p>Spanish cognates and highlight them on the word </p><p>wall. This approach would support students' lan </p><p>guage development and send a strong message re </p><p>garding the importance of the students' first language in the classroom. Whenever possible, teachers should </p><p>repeatedly bring students' attention to cognates dur </p><p>ing content lessons. </p><p>Conversational Strategies According to McCarty, Wallace, Lynch, and Benally </p><p>(1991), when students and teachers engage in mean </p><p>ingful interaction where "students' ideas are sought, </p><p>valued, and incorporated into the [curricular] con </p><p>tent" of the class, the students become verbal and </p><p>respond to questions (p. 53). Perez (1996) suggested that classrooms that support students' interaction </p><p>with peers and the teacher do make use of the collec </p><p>tive knowledge of the class, which enhances students' </p><p>language skills. These classrooms are inherently low </p><p>risk, build on what students bring to the classroom, </p><p>and create the space for the emergence of new ideas </p><p>based on students' interactions with one another. </p><p>Goldenberg's (1992) research offers insights into the role of instructional conversations in ELLs' </p><p>learning. In this type of classroom discourse, the </p><p>students and teachers interact with one another in </p><p>a give-and-take and joint meaning-making process that resembles a dinnertime discussion. Creating a </p><p>context in which ELLs discuss school materials and </p><p>sound natural in that discussion is not easy. For ex </p><p>ample, in the same classroom we highlighted earlier, a student who started school in August 2007 with no </p><p>English skills engaged her classmates in a discussion </p><p>that sounded like talk at the dinner table, but it also </p><p>highlighted her growing content knowledge. </p><p>Teacher: I found the neatest picture in this </p><p>book that I want to show you. [stu dents ignore the invite and take up their own conversation] </p><p>Student 1: How do the meteor...the weather peo </p><p>ple get the weather stuff? </p><p>New Student: Urn, the thermometer thing goes in </p><p>the air balloon and goes up and tells </p><p>the weather and goes up again and </p><p>then into the computer thing. </p><p>Student 1: Are you sure? </p><p>New Student: Yeah, I'm sure. </p><p>Student 3: It's not a regular thermometer, it's a </p><p>special one. </p><p>Student 4: Why they need the big balloon? </p><p>Teacher: Yeah, why do we need a big balloon? </p><p>New Student: You want the balloon bigger, you </p><p>know, it only gets a little of the sky wouldn't know a lot. You want it to go </p><p>in a lot of clouds. </p><p>Teacher: So the meteorologist wants to get in </p><p>formation from the different clouds </p><p>at different points in the atmosphere. Remember when we read about how </p><p>they got their information? So the </p><p>bigger the balloon the higher they can go. </p><p>Goldenberg and Patthey-Chavez (1995) found </p><p>that ELLs who participated in instructional conversa </p><p>tions talked more in class and were able to express </p><p>Creating Language-Rich Instruction for English-Language Learners 177 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 18:53:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>more. What makes this instruction different from </p><p>the Initiation-Response-Evalutation interaction pat terns (Mehan, 1979) often found in classrooms is </p><p>that during instructional conversations the focus is </p><p>on a theme(s), activating and building on important </p><p>schemata, direct teaching, promoting and support </p><p>ing more complex language, supporting statements </p><p>and propositions, fewer known answers to questions, teacher responsiveness to students' contribution, </p><p>connected discourse, challenging interactions, and </p><p>student-led interactions. It is believed that this ap </p><p>proach can be used with students with varying levels </p><p>of English-language proficiency. In fact, Saunders and </p><p>Goldenberg (1999) stated, "The effects of both litera </p><p>ture logs and instructional conversations on under </p><p>standing of a story's theme are more pronounced for </p><p>limited-English proficient students" (p. 295). This ap </p><p>proach is effective with students with limited English </p><p>proficiency when they are encouraged to write their </p><p>ideas in a literature response log before participat </p><p>ing in the conversation. Having rehearsed their ideas </p><p>in the log makes it easier for them to participate. Teachers who implement instructional conversations </p><p>need to ensure that students are able to discern and </p><p>discuss "their own experiences, the content of the lit </p><p>erary selection, and one or more major themes that </p><p>apply to the selection (e.g., sacrifice, perseverance, </p><p>commitment, justice, cultural identity) (p. 296). In </p><p>regard to promoting comprehension strategies, stu </p><p>dents are asked to "summarize what they have read, </p><p>and formulate and answer...questions about the read </p><p>ing material" (p. 297). The emphasis throughout the </p><p>interaction is on meaning making for real purposes. Martinez-Roldan and Lopez-Robertson (2000) </p><p>also found that open-ended literature discussions of </p><p>culturally relevant books with Spanish-English kin </p><p>dergarten bilingual students revealed their ability to </p><p>live through the experience of the text, make use of </p><p>illustrations and text, explore social issues, and make </p><p>connections to other texts (printed and oral) and life </p><p>experiences. Of particular interest is the students' </p><p>ability to explore social issues in their discussion </p><p>groups. These discussions revealed that students </p><p>were engaged in the texts read and were developing </p><p>a strong sense of the kind of meaning making that </p><p>should take place around text. As noted in this col </p><p>umn, it is important that ELLs' classrooms are rich in </p><p>language that is comprehensible. These suggestions will assist educators in providing language-rich class </p><p>rooms in order to enhance the literacy of ELLs. </p><p>References </p><p>Ernst, G., &amp; Richard, K. (1995). Reading and writing pathways to conversation in the ESL classroom. The Reading Teacher, </p><p>48(4), 320-326. </p><p>Garc?a, G.E. (2003). The reading comprehension development and instruction of English language learners. In A.P. Sweet </p><p>&amp; C.E. Snow (Eds.), Rethinking reading comprehension (pp. </p><p>30-50). New York: Guilford. </p><p>Garcia, G.E. (2008, May). Translating vocabulary research into </p><p>practice with English language learners. In K. Stahl (Chair), </p><p>Engaging learners in vocabulary learning: Practical, research </p><p>based approaches. Symposium conducted at the annual con </p><p>vention of the International Reading Association, Atlanta, </p><p>GA. </p><p>Goldenberg, C. (1992). Instructional conversations: Promoting </p><p>comprehension through discussion. The Reading Teacher, </p><p>46(4), 316-326. </p><p>Goldenberg, C., &amp; Patthey-Chavez, G. (1995). Discourse processes </p><p>in instructional conversations: Interactions between teacher </p><p>and transition readers. Discourse Processes, 19(\), 57-74. </p><p>Martinez-Roldan, CM., &amp; Lopez-Robertson, J.M. (2000). Initiating literature circles in a first-grade bilingual classroom. The </p><p>Reading Teacher, 53(4), 270-281. </p><p>McCarty, T.L., Wallace, S., Lynch, R.H., &amp; Benally, A. (1991). </p><p>Classroom inquiry and Navajo learning styles: A call for as </p><p>sessment. Anthropology &amp; Education Quarterly, 22(\), 42-59. </p><p>doi:10.1525/aeq.l991.22.1.05xll72b </p><p>Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the </p><p>classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. </p><p>Perez, B. (1996). Instructional conversations as opportunities for </p><p>English language acquisition for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Language Arts, 73(3), 173-181. </p><p>Saunders, W. &amp; Goldenberg, C (1999). Effects of instructional con </p><p>versations and literature logs on limited-and fluent-English </p><p>proficient students' story comprehension and thematic under </p><p>standing. The Elementary School Journal, 99(4), 277-301. </p><p>Williams, J. (2001). Classroom conversations: Opportunities to </p><p>learn for ESL students in mainstream classrooms. The Reading </p><p>Teacher, 54(8), 750-757. </p><p>Bauer teaches at the University of Illinois at </p><p>Urbana-Champaign, USA; e-mail ebbauer@uiuc. </p><p>edu. Manyak teaches at the University of Wyoming, </p><p>Laramie, USA; e-mail PManyak@uwyo.edu. </p><p>The department editors welcome reader comments. Patrick C. Manyak teaches at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA; e-mail PManyak@uwyo.edu. Eurydice Bouchereau Bauer teaches at </p><p>University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; e-mail ebbauer@uiuc.edu. </p><p>178 The Reading Teacher Vol. 62, No. 2 October 2008 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 18:53:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp. 176p. 177p. 178</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsThe Reading Teacher, Vol. 62, No. 2 (Oct., 2008), pp. 95-178Front Matter"March of the Penguins": Building Knowledge in a Kindergarten Classroom [pp. 96-103]The Comprehension Matrix: A Tool for Designing Comprehension Instruction [pp. 106-113]Teacher and Parent Scaffolding of Voluntary Summ...</p></li></ul>