Building Academic Language in the ESL Classroom

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ARKTESOL Springdale presentation by Elisabeth Chan of The International Center for English at Arkansas State University October 28, 2010. This presentation discusses the difference between conversation and academic English and includes tips and tricks to help students bridge the gap.

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Building Academic Language in the ESL Classroom

  1. 1. Elisabeth Chan The International Center for English Arkansas State University ARKTESOL - October 28, 2010
  2. 2. What’s the difference?  Magnetic attraction occurs only between ferrous metals.  Our experiments showed that magnets attract some metals.  We found out the pins stuck on the magnet.  Look, it’s making them move. They don’t stick. Gibbons (2002, p.40)
  3. 3.  Magnetic attraction occurs only between ferrous metals.  Our experiments showed that magnets attract some metals.  We found out the pins stuck on the magnet.  Look, it’s making them move. They don’t stick. Gibbons (2002, p.40) Registers! Non-Academic Academic
  4. 4. Conversational vs Academic  Cummins (1981)  BICS – basic interpersonal communicative skills ○ 2-3 years  CALP – cognitive academic language proficiency ○ 5-7 years  Cummins’ Quadrants  Context embedded?  Cognitively demanding?
  5. 5. Cummins’ Quadrants COGNITIVELY UNDEMANDING CONTEXT CONTEXT EMBEDDED REDUCED COGNITIVELY DEMANDING
  6. 6. Academic Bag of Tricks  How academic English is different & Activities for building:  Writing  Reading  Speaking  Vocabulary
  7. 7. Writing Organization Content Grammar
  8. 8.  ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERN  CONTENT  TOPIC  SUPPORTING DETAILS  GRAMMAR  COMPOUND SENTENCES  COMPLEX SENTENCES Difference?
  9. 9. Building Academic Writing  Teach and practice the writing process  Focus on content  State a topic and develop it  Focus on cohesive paragraph structure  Reference, conjunctions, nominalization  Focus on sentence structure  Compound, clauses, signal words  Paraphrasing
  10. 10. Writing Activities  Sentence Transformation  Simple  compound  Nominalizations  every day language The police investigation of the robbery lasted for one month. The police investigated the robbery for one month.
  11. 11. Writing Activities  Sentence Transformation  Simple  compound  Nominalizations  every day language  Paraphrase  Have students pull key words from a level appropriate academic text and then put away the original text  Now have students paraphrase using only the keywords written down to help
  12. 12. Difference?
  13. 13. Building Academic Reading  Build reading fluency through Extensive Reading  Engage students & increase motivation  Explicitly teach reading skills  Model the skills! Use “Think Alouds”
  14. 14. Reading  Titles & Headings  Figures  Bold words  Objectives  Language! Guessing from context! Context-embedded + Cognitively demanding 
  15. 15. Speaking
  16. 16. Building Academic Speech  Raise students’ awareness  Use discussion groups with questions about differences  Listen to lectures or speeches & analyze the language used  Analyze research or focus on prevalent structures  Extend conversation  Avoid IRE’s = Initiation, Response, Evaluation (Cazden, 2001)
  17. 17. Speaking Activities  Avoiding IRE’s  Ask more open ended questions  Respond with encouragement and in a way that extends their response and thinking ○ T: The teacher –blank– a book to the class every week. S: reads T: That’s right! Why do we use “read” and not “reads”? OR T: Very good! What other verbs can we use? S: gives? T: Excellent! What is a verb we cannot use there? Why not?
  18. 18. Describe this image
  19. 19. Academic Vocabulary  Every day vocabulary vs. Academic (Brook, D. 1998)  Extensive reading  Explicitly teach vocabulary learning strategies  Vocabulary notebook activities Anglo-Saxon French Latin fear terror trepidation win succeed triumph holy sacred consecrated
  20. 20. Vocabulary Activities  Note cards or Notebooks
  21. 21. Vocabulary Activities  Note cards or Notebooks
  22. 22. References  Arms, K. 1996. Environmental Science. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.  Brook, D. 1998. The Journey of English. New York: Clarion Books.  Cazden, C. 2001. Classroom Discourse: The Language of Teaching and Learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.  Cummins, J. 1981. “The Role of Primary Language Development in Promoting Educational Success for Language Minority Students.” In Schooling and Language Minority Students: A Theoretical Framework, 3-49. Los Angeles: Evaluation, Dissemination and Assessment Center, California State University, Los Angeles.  Freeman, Y.S. and D.E. Freeman. 2009. Academic Language for English Language Learners and Struggling Readers: How to Help Students Succeed Across Content Areas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.  Gibbons, P. 2002. Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: Teaching Second Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.  Guthrie, J. and M. Davis. 2003. “Motivating Struggling Readers in Middle School Through an Engagement Model of Classroom Practice.” Reading and Writing Quarterly 9: 59-85.  Swales, J. 2005. “Academically Speaking.” Language Magazine 4 (8): 30-34.  Scholastic. Magnetic Attraction. http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1227. Accessed October 5, 2010.  POS Hardware. International Point of Sale Cash Registers. http://www.internationalpointofsale.com/store/index.php?cPath=84. Accessed October 5, 2010. Image Citations
  23. 23. QUESTIONS? CONTACT INFO Elisabeth Chan echan@astate.edu http://www.astate.edu/international/tice The International Center for English Arkansas State University

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