Bridging the Gap: 
Connecting SLIFE with U.S. 
Classrooms 
Michigan TESOL Annual Conference 
October 17-18, 2014 
Grand Va...
As 
immigra)on 
to 
the 
U.S. 
con)nues 
to 
grow, 
more 
and 
more 
students 
with 
interrupted 
or 
limited 
formal 
edu...
SLIFE 
• Develop basic literacy skills 
• Learn basic and grade-level subject area 
concepts 
• Develop academic ways of t...
Ways of thinking and lear2ing 
are shaped by 
prior lear2ing ex6eriences 
(DeCapua 
& 
Wintergerst, 
2004)
The Hidden Assumptions 
• Preferences in 
accessing & 
transmitting information 
• Responsibilities in 
imparting, receivi...
Teachers and learners assume that 
1. the goals of K-12 instruction are 
a) to produce an independent learner 
b) to prepa...
Three Major Differences 
• Oral versus Print 
• Collectivism versus Individualism 
• Informal versus Formal Ways of Learni...
Rural Primary Education 
• Few or no textbooks 
• Minimal supplies 
• Memorization, 
recitation 
• Copying without 
proces...
I 
never 
care 
about 
reading 
un)l 
I 
come 
here 
In 
my 
country 
nothing 
to 
read 
but 
here, 
everywhere 
print, 
w...
Collectivism and Individualism
Collectivism 
• “We” rather than “I” 
• People see themselves as 
part of an interconnected 
whole 
• “Web” of relationshi...
Individualism 
• Personal efforts praised, 
rewarded 
• Personal interests, 
desires, primary 
• Personal judgments 
• Per...
Informal Ways of Learning 
• Revolves around 
immediate needs of 
family and community 
• Grounded in 
observation, partic...
Formal Western-Style Education 
• Abstract knowledge 
• Scientific reasoning 
• Logical deduction 
• Formal school setting...
Academic Tasks 
• Definitions 
Ø What is a tree? 
• True/False 
Ø New York City is the capital of New York 
State 
Ø La...
Sample Task 
(Adapted 
from 
Luria, 
1976)
Sample Task 
What 
do 
rabbits 
and 
dogs 
have 
in 
common?
Teachers and learners assume that 
1. the goals of K-12 instruction are 
a) to produce an independent learner 
b) to prepa...
(Ibarra, 2001)
Culturally Responsive Teaching 
• Cultural competence 
• Relevant curriculum 
• Supportive learning community 
• Cultural ...
Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm 
MALPTM 
• Culturally responsive teaching model 
• Elements from students’learning 
pa...
Two Different Learning Paradigms 
SLIFE North American 
Classrooms 
Immediate 
Relevance 
Future 
Relevance 
Shared 
Respo...
Mutually Adap7ve 
Learning 
Paradigm 
– 
MALPTM 
Culturally 
Responsive 
Teaching 
Model 
SLIFE 
North 
American 
Classroo...
Project-Based Learning 
(PBL) 
• Allows for differentiation 
• promotes integration of literacy 
and content knowledge 
• ...
PBL and MALP™ 
• Provides immediate relevance 
• Fosters a sense of interconnectedness 
• Allows for both shared responsib...
and from a MALP perspective, 
PBL: 
• fosters a sense of community 
• provides immediate relevance 
• allows for shared re...
Examples of Projects 
• Collections 
• Timelines 
• Shared Events 
• Theme Booklets 
(DeCapua & Marshall, 2011; DeCapua, S...
Newcomer Booklets 
• Explain common procedures, routines 
– school basics 
• sharpening a pencil 
• lockers 
• the library...
Welcome Book
Fire 
Safety 
911 
by 
Mrs. 
B’s 
class
Fire Safety: 911 
• I am calling about a fire. 
• It is at _______. 
• It is in the _________
Mrs. J’s High School SLIFE 
• Where is_?
This is the school library. 
• It is Room 234. 
• It is on the second floor. 
You 
return 
books 
here.
These 
are 
lockers. 
They 
are 
by 
Room 
110. 
This 
is 
a 
lock.
MALPTM Checklist 
Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm – MALP © 
Teacher Planning Checklist 
A. Accept Conditions for Learn...
How am I making this lesson immediately 
relevant to my students? 
BaMling 
Boredom 
• Soldiers 
at 
GeHysburg 
were 
bore...
How am I helping students develop and 
maintain Interconnectedness? 
• Students talk about 
their lives outside of 
school...
How am I incorporating both group 
responsibility and individual accountability? 
• Class collectively 
creates chart of 
...
How am I scaffolding the written word 
through oral interaction? 
• Class collectively 
creates chart of 
activities with ...
What new academic tasks 
am I introducing? 
• Gathering data from 
secondary sources 
• Comparing and 
contrasting data 
•...
What am I doing to make the new tasks 
accessible to my students? 
• Language on Web site 
accessible through photos 
and ...
What does a MALP Classroom Look 
Like? 
• Word wall 
• Calendar 
• Sentence frames 
• Teacher-made 
concept posters 
• Stu...
Word Wall
Sentence Frames
Teacher-made Concept Poster
Number Lines
Bar Graph Posters
A Continuum of Ways of 
Thinking & Learning 
Dissonance View Deficit View 
Informal Ways of Learning North American 
Forma...
Layers of the Instructional Context 
Curriculum, 
Instruc7on, 
and 
Assessment 
Culturally 
Responsive 
Teaching 
Societal...
Coopera7ve 
Learning 
• Checker 
• Data 
keeper 
• Group 
Leader 
• Keyboard 
Operator 
• Materials 
Manager 
• Messenger ...
Intercultural Communication 
Framework (ICF) 
Ø Establish and maintain a relationship 
Ø Identify priorities in both cul...
Who Am I?
Keep Your Eye on The Ball 
Spillach, 
1979
Make the Unfamiliar Familiar
Intercultural Communication 
Framework 
Step 1: Establish and maintain a relationship 
• Infuse instruction with interpers...
Selected References 
Anderson-Levitt, K. (2003). Local meanings, global schooling. Hampshire: Palgrave. 
DeCapua, A., & Ma...
Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua
Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua
Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua
Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua
Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua
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Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua

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Keynote presentation at the annual Mi TESOL conference, 2014 in Grand Rapids, MI.

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Bridging the gap: connecting SLIFE with U.S. classrooms DeCapua

  1. 1. Bridging the Gap: Connecting SLIFE with U.S. Classrooms Michigan TESOL Annual Conference October 17-18, 2014 Grand Valley State University Grand Rapids Andrea DeCapua, Ed.D. MALPTM, LLC
  2. 2. As immigra)on to the U.S. con)nues to grow, more and more students with interrupted or limited formal educa)on (SLIFE) enter secondary schools and adult educa)on programs. These learners face major challenges, including the need to develop literacy skills and a content knowledge base, oFen in a limited )meframe. Beyond this, however, SLIFE come to formal educa)on unfamiliar with classroom tasks and behaviors, and with liHle or no experience in expected types of learning and thinking. Dominant Western-­‐style pedagogical prac)ces derive from culturally-­‐ based priori)es for learners and learning, priori)es intrinsic to this style of schooling. Educators are oFen unaware how pervasive these priori)es are and how much they shape pedagogical prac)ces. I explore the priori)es of both US mainstream educators and those of SLIFE, and discuss how each can accommodate the other’s priori)es through a culturally responsive, mutually adap)ve approach, thereby reducing the cultural dissonance SLIFE confront in formal educa)onal seNngs. I conclude by considering how educators can bridge the gap to culturally new ways of learning by transi)oning SLIFE from their preferred ways of learning to those deemed necessary for literacy and academic aHainment in formal educa)on.
  3. 3. SLIFE • Develop basic literacy skills • Learn basic and grade-level subject area concepts • Develop academic ways of thinking • Adapt to cultural differences in learning and teaching
  4. 4. Ways of thinking and lear2ing are shaped by prior lear2ing ex6eriences (DeCapua & Wintergerst, 2004)
  5. 5. The Hidden Assumptions • Preferences in accessing & transmitting information • Responsibilities in imparting, receiving knowledge and for working together • Ways of thinking & learning 10% 90% Flaitz, 2012
  6. 6. Teachers and learners assume that 1. the goals of K-12 instruction are a) to produce an independent learner b) to prepare that learner for life after schooling 2. the learner is prepared to a) participate as an individual b) engage in literacy-based, school-related tasks (Adapted from DeCapua & Marshall, 2011)
  7. 7. Three Major Differences • Oral versus Print • Collectivism versus Individualism • Informal versus Formal Ways of Learning
  8. 8. Rural Primary Education • Few or no textbooks • Minimal supplies • Memorization, recitation • Copying without processing © www.globalafricanvillage.org Used by permission (Flaitz, 2012)
  9. 9. I never care about reading un)l I come here In my country nothing to read but here, everywhere print, words and signs and books and you have to read The most importants I have learned about the United States that is a book, newspapers, or notebook and pens. These things are always let me know how to live here.
  10. 10. Collectivism and Individualism
  11. 11. Collectivism • “We” rather than “I” • People see themselves as part of an interconnected whole • “Web” of relationships • Group is more important than any single individual
  12. 12. Individualism • Personal efforts praised, rewarded • Personal interests, desires, primary • Personal judgments • Personal responsibility • “Self-actualization”
  13. 13. Informal Ways of Learning • Revolves around immediate needs of family and community • Grounded in observation, participation in sociocultural practices of family and community • Has immediate relevance • Centered on orality (Gahunga, Gahunga, & Luseno, 2011; Paradise & Rogoff, 2009)
  14. 14. Formal Western-Style Education • Abstract knowledge • Scientific reasoning • Logical deduction • Formal school settings • Literacy is central (Anderson-­‐LeviH, 2003; Flynn, 2007; Grigorenko, 2007; Ozmon & Carver, 2008 )
  15. 15. Academic Tasks • Definitions Ø What is a tree? • True/False Ø New York City is the capital of New York State Ø Lansing is the capital of Michigan • Classification Ø Categorize these objects (see next slide)
  16. 16. Sample Task (Adapted from Luria, 1976)
  17. 17. Sample Task What do rabbits and dogs have in common?
  18. 18. Teachers and learners assume that 1. the goals of K-12 instruction are a) to produce an independent learner b) to prepare that learner for life after schooling 2. the learner is prepared to a) participate as an individual b) engage in literacy-based, school-related tasks (Adapted from DeCapua & Marshall, 2011)
  19. 19. (Ibarra, 2001)
  20. 20. Culturally Responsive Teaching • Cultural competence • Relevant curriculum • Supportive learning community • Cultural congruity • Effective classroom interaction
  21. 21. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm MALPTM • Culturally responsive teaching model • Elements from students’learning paradigm • Elements from Western-style education • Transitional approach to achievement gap by addressing cultural dissonance
  22. 22. Two Different Learning Paradigms SLIFE North American Classrooms Immediate Relevance Future Relevance Shared Responsibility Pragma)c Tasks CONDITIONS PROCESSES ACTIVITIES Interconnectedness Oral Transmission Independence Standardized Tes0ng! WriHen Word (DeCapua & Marshall, 2010; 2011; Marshall, 1994, 1998) Aspects of Learning Individual Accountability Academic Tasks
  23. 23. Mutually Adap7ve Learning Paradigm – MALPTM Culturally Responsive Teaching Model SLIFE North American Classrooms Interconnectedness Independence Shared Responsibility Individual Accountability Pragma)c Tasks Academic Tasks ACCEPT CONDITIONS COMBINE PROCESSES FOCUS on NEW ACTIVITIES with familiar language & content Immediate Relevance Oral Transmission WriHen Word with Future Relevance (DeCapua & Marshall, 2009, 2011; Marshall, 1994; Marshall & DeCapua, 2013)
  24. 24. Project-Based Learning (PBL) • Allows for differentiation • promotes integration of literacy and content knowledge • improves student engagement – student-centered rather than teacher centered
  25. 25. PBL and MALP™ • Provides immediate relevance • Fosters a sense of interconnectedness • Allows for both shared responsibility and individual accountability • Incorporates oral transmission with print • Develops academic ways of thinking
  26. 26. and from a MALP perspective, PBL: • fosters a sense of community • provides immediate relevance • allows for shared responsibility and individual responsibility • accommodates oral transmission with print • promotes school-based ways of thinking
  27. 27. Examples of Projects • Collections • Timelines • Shared Events • Theme Booklets (DeCapua & Marshall, 2011; DeCapua, Smathers & Tang, 2009; Marshall & DeCapua, 2013; 2009)
  28. 28. Newcomer Booklets • Explain common procedures, routines – school basics • sharpening a pencil • lockers • the library – community information • the emergency room • calling 911
  29. 29. Welcome Book
  30. 30. Fire Safety 911 by Mrs. B’s class
  31. 31. Fire Safety: 911 • I am calling about a fire. • It is at _______. • It is in the _________
  32. 32. Mrs. J’s High School SLIFE • Where is_?
  33. 33. This is the school library. • It is Room 234. • It is on the second floor. You return books here.
  34. 34. These are lockers. They are by Room 110. This is a lock.
  35. 35. MALPTM Checklist Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm – MALP © Teacher Planning Checklist A. Accept Conditions for Learning A1. I am making this lesson/project immediately relevant to students. A2. I am helping students develop and maintain interconnectedness. B. Combine Processes for Learning B1. I am incorporating shared responsibility and individual accountability. B2. I am scaffolding the written word through oral interaction. C. Focus on New Activities for Learning C1. I am focusing on tasks requiring academic ways of thinking. C2. I am making these tasks accessible with familiar language and content. © DeCapua, A. & Marshall, H.W. (2011). Breaking new ground: Teaching students with limited or interrupted formal education in U.S. secondary schools. p. 68. For terms and conditions of use, contact: information@malpeducation.com
  36. 36. How am I making this lesson immediately relevant to my students? BaMling Boredom • Soldiers at GeHysburg were bored some)mes just like them • Finding out what soldiers did and seeing if any students do the same • Adding more ideas to own list based on soldiers’ informa)on
  37. 37. How am I helping students develop and maintain Interconnectedness? • Students talk about their lives outside of school • Students and teacher learn more about each others’ interests • Teacher and students share what they do when they are bored
  38. 38. How am I incorporating both group responsibility and individual accountability? • Class collectively creates chart of activities with each student making contributions • Pairs work together to identify what soldiers did to combat boredom • Each member of pair adds information to personal Venn diagram
  39. 39. How am I scaffolding the written word through oral interaction? • Class collectively creates chart of activities with each student making contributions orally. • Teacher writes, students read aloud their contributions. • Students copy relevant items into their Venn diagrams.
  40. 40. What new academic tasks am I introducing? • Gathering data from secondary sources • Comparing and contrasting data • Analyzing data from graphs
  41. 41. What am I doing to make the new tasks accessible to my students? • Language on Web site accessible through photos and captions • Language scaffolded by use of L1 among students • Content scaffolded by relevant personal information • Content scaffolded by graphic organizers
  42. 42. What does a MALP Classroom Look Like? • Word wall • Calendar • Sentence frames • Teacher-made concept posters • Student–produced posters
  43. 43. Word Wall
  44. 44. Sentence Frames
  45. 45. Teacher-made Concept Poster
  46. 46. Number Lines
  47. 47. Bar Graph Posters
  48. 48. A Continuum of Ways of Thinking & Learning Dissonance View Deficit View Informal Ways of Learning North American Formal Education SLIFE
  49. 49. Layers of the Instructional Context Curriculum, Instruc7on, and Assessment Culturally Responsive Teaching Societal Factors Bedrock Layer
  50. 50. Coopera7ve Learning • Checker • Data keeper • Group Leader • Keyboard Operator • Materials Manager • Messenger • Permission Giver • Ques7oner • Reader • Reporter • Summarizer • Timekeeper • Word Analyst • Writer/Recorder à Individual Responsibility SAMPLE ROLES
  51. 51. Intercultural Communication Framework (ICF) Ø Establish and maintain a relationship Ø Identify priorities in both cultures Ø Make associations between familiar and unfamiliar (Marshall, 1994; Marshall & DeCapua, 2013)
  52. 52. Who Am I?
  53. 53. Keep Your Eye on The Ball Spillach, 1979
  54. 54. Make the Unfamiliar Familiar
  55. 55. Intercultural Communication Framework Step 1: Establish and maintain a relationship • Infuse instruction with interpersonal elements Ø Teacher and students Ø Students together Ø Students with family members Step 2: Identify priorities in both cultures • Adapt instruction to accommodate learner priorities • Develop learner awareness of community priorities Step 3: Make associations between familiar and unfamiliar • Move from familiar to unfamiliar schemata Linguistic Content Formal • Build associations between familiar/unfamiliar concepts (Marshall, 1994; Marshall & DeCapua, 2013)
  56. 56. Selected References Anderson-Levitt, K. (2003). Local meanings, global schooling. Hampshire: Palgrave. DeCapua, A., & Marshall, H.W. (2011). Breaking new ground: Teaching students with or interrupted formal education. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. DeCapua, A., & Marshall, H.W. (2010). Serving ELLs with limited or interrupted education: Intervention that works. TESOL Journal, 1, 49–70. DeCapua A., & Marshall, H.W. (2010). Students with limited or interrupted formal education in U.S. classrooms. Urban Review, 42, 159–173. Flynn, J. (2007). What is intelligence? New York: Cambridge University Press. Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Grigorenko, E. (2007). Hitting, missing, and in between: A typology of the impact of western education on the non-western world. Comparative Education, 43, 165-186. Ibarra, R. (2001). Beyond affirmative action: Reframing the context of higher education. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Luria, A. R. (1976). Cognitive development: Its cultural and social foundations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Marshall, H.W. & DeCapua, A. (2013). Making the transition to classroom success: Culturally responsive teaching for English language learners. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Marshall, H.W. & DeCapua A. (2009). The newcomer booklet: A project for limited formally schooled students. ELT Journal, 64, 396-404. Triandis, H. (1995). Individualism & collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Paradise, R., & Rogoff, B. (2009). Side by side: Learning by observing and pitching. Ethos, 37, 102-138.

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