Principles to Implement Quality English-language Learning Programs:
teaching structures and formats that elicit frequent, extended
extensive modeling and think-alouds. Teachers can swerve as
important models for students by "thinking aloud"
to demonstrate problem solving, thinking processes, learning
strategies, and attitudes and feelings. This also shows students
that it is ok to stumble or to retrace one's thoughts in order
to approach a solution. These "think alouds" are particularly
helpful for English language learners who are learning reading,
writing, and the academic language associated with content (Chamot,
students in conversation about content lessons. Include student
and teacher talk, specifically "academic talk," rather
than just sharing or conversational talk. Academic talk includes
discussion of concepts, reinforces students' understanding of
content lessons, and provides them with the language for expressing
learning strategies with students. Tell the students why you
have chosen to use a particular learning strategy, label the
strategy, and tell students why the strategy might be helpful.
Instructional conversations can be a technique/strategy for
having students talk about important concepts in the content
Language Development programs should include a balance of three
components: 1) development of natural, conversational, language,
oral and written proficiency, 2) the development of Cognitive
Academic Language Proficiency [CALP] basic conversational
English, and 3) systematic proactive teaching of conventions
language and use scaffolding during content lessons to increase
conceptual understanding, but keep lesson content at a challenging
and intellectually stimulating level. Avoid oversimplifying during
English Language Development with contrived, intellectually insulting
material during the course of teaching English.
content subjects such as science, native language instructors
should have adequate knowledge of technical vocabulary.
visuals and extensive use of written language to reinforce verbal
content when teaching in English.
strategic use of synonyms. Teachers' word choice and sentence
structure needs to be consistent and concise during second language
learning. Teachers also need to pay attention to their use of
metaphors and similes and other highly culture-specific phrases
the early phases of language learning, it's important for a
teacher to modulate and be sensitive with providing feedback
and focused correction on language usage (don't try to correct
all errors); however, during later stages of language learning,
it is important that the teacher identify errors and provide
specific feedback to students.
language use during English language development must be strategic.
At times, it might be useful to use native language to reinforce
English instruction; however, teachers need to be aware of the
risk of over-reliance on simultaneous translations. Do not switch
back and forth between languages or translate, as this encourages
students' reliance on their stronger language.
most effective teachers tend to use a "hybrid" of classic
effective teaching and newer cognitive or constructivist approaches
that characterize concepts such as "dynamic structured teaching."
For example combining "the 'best' of both direct
instruction and communicatively-based classroom interaction
seems to be the most powerful vehicle towards accomplishing effective
and optimal instruction."
feedback to student weaknesses that have been identified by means
of a pre-test.
aloud to students and make use of repeated readings of the same
story before having students read independently.
principles of effective teaching apply to English-language learners,
but principles may need to be regulated or adjusted according
to classroom needs.
It is important that English-language learners be provided with
high quality, challenging materials. This material needs to
be coordinated with key goals for standards of learning, within
the school and state goals.
key indicator of a quality program is that students are talking,
speaking, writing, and reading. These indicators should be observable
in every area.
When teaching vocabulary:
time defining, discussing, and clarifying unfamiliar vocabulary
prior to reading a passage.
on approximately 4-7 core vocabulary words per lesson.
strategies include: careful selection of words (evocative, key
words stimulate the student); linking words or concepts to words
known in native language; showing new words in print; or using
visuals (e.g., concept maps) to depict concepts or word meanings.
short, explicit segments of class time in which to directly
teach key vocabulary. A five minute segment would consist of
the teacher saying the vocabulary word, writing it on the board,
asking students to say it and write it and defining the term
with pictures, demonstrations, and examples familiar to students.
vocabulary to relevant experiences in the students' lives.
ample opportunities for children to speak frequently and at length
(more than 1-2 word utterances).