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Designing projects for ELLs with Limited/Interrupted Formal Education


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We provide and discuss essential criteria for designing class projects to promote the language acquisition, content-knowledge development, literacy skills, and critical thinking skills of ELLs with limited or interrupted education. We demonstrate how to use these criteria and provide a checklist for teachers to use in preparing their own materials.

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Designing projects for ELLs with Limited/Interrupted Formal Education

  1. 1. Designing Successful Projects for ELLs with Limited/Interrupted Formal Education TESOL Convention New Orleans March 17, 2011Andrea DeCapua and Helaine W. Marshall
  2. 2. Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education SLIFE
  3. 3. Needs of SLIFE• Learn basic & grade-level subject area concepts• Develop basic literacy skills• Develop academic ways of thinking• Adapt to cultural differences in learning and teaching
  4. 4. U.S. teachers and learners assume that: 1. the goals of K-12 instruction are a) to prepare that learner for life after schooling b) to produce an independent learner 2. the learner brings along a) an urge to compete and excel as an individual b) age-appropriate preparation for (i) literacy development (ii) academic tasks (DeCapua & Marshall, 2011)
  5. 5. SLIFE• Do not always see the immediate relevance of school learning• Generally come from collectivistic cultures• Do not have age-appropriate literacy & academic skills preparation
  6. 6. (Ibarra, 2001)
  7. 7. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm – MALP©• Instructional Model• Elements from students’ learning paradigm• Elements from U.S. learning paradigm• Transitional approach to close achievement gap (DeCapua & Marshall, 2011)
  8. 8. Interconnectedness Independence Shared Individual Responsibility Accountability with Pragmatic Academic Tasks Tasks
  9. 9. Bringing the two worlds together: MALP© andProject-Based Learning
  10. 10. Mrs. Aquino• Secondary ESL teacher of SLIFE• Approached by social studies teacher concerned about SLIFE in her mainstream class• Mrs. Aquino trained in MALP• Develops Timelines project
  11. 11. Mrs. Aquino’s Timeline Project: Birthdays• Importance placed on birthdays not universal• SLIFE may • be unaware of actual birthday and/or • have been assigned approximate one for arrival in U.S. (DeCapua & Marshall, 2011)
  12. 12. Steps in the Project1. Background lessons • months of the year • cardinal and ordinal numbers from 1-312. Word wall • birthday • celebrate
  13. 13. Steps in the Project3. Individual small poster with twosentence frames; students work in pairsto complete postersSentence FramesMy birthday is on the _______________ day of_________________.My birthday is __________ ___________.
  14. 14. Steps in the Project4. Standing in a row • Refer to individual posters • Partners decide whose birthday comes first • All students arrange themselves physically into class timeline
  15. 15. Steps in the Project5. But teacher, 3 birthdays inNovember!” “Whose birthday comes first? Check your posters.” Reinforces: • cardinal number recognition and practice • comparing and contrasting
  16. 16. Steps in the Project6. Oral timeline practice • Students remain standing • One-by-one say date of their birthday • Mrs. Aquino enters each date on large blank timeline
  17. 17. Steps in the Project7. Teacher’s birthday • Mrs. Aquino tells students her birthday • Students decide where she should stand in their timeline8. Students say dates and months while looking at & pointing to timeline on board
  18. 18. © 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 English learnerswith limited or interrupted formal education in US secondary schools. Ann Arbor, MI:University of Michigan Press.
  19. 19. More about MALP©?Our wiki is http://malp.pbworks.comAndrea DeCapua adecapua@cnr.eduHelaine W. Marshall helaine.marshall@liu.eduSlideShare Event: TESOL 2011
  20. 20. Selected References• DeCapua, A. & Marshall. H. W. (2011). Breaking new ground: Teaching English learners with limited or interrupted formal education in US secondary schools. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.• DeCapua, A. & Marshall, H.W. (2011). Reaching ELLs at risk: Instruction for students with limited/interrupted formal education. Preventing School Failure, 55, 35-41.• DeCapua, A., & Marshall, H. W. (2010a). Limited formally schooled English language learners in U.S. classrooms. Urban Review, 42, 159-173.• DeCapua, A. & Marshall, H.W. (2010b). Serving ELLs with limited or interrupted education: Intervention that works. TESOL Journal, 1, 49-70.
  21. 21. References (cont’d)• DeCapua, A., Smathers, W. & Tang, F. (2007). Addressing the challenges and needs of students with interrupted formal education (SIFE). Educational Policy & Leadership, 65, 40–46.• Marshall, H.W. & DeCapua A. 2010). The newcomer booklet: A Project for limited formally schooled students. ELT Journal, 64. 396-404.• Marshall, H.W., DeCapua, A., & Antolini, C. (2010) Building literacy for SIFE through social studies. Educator’s Voice, 3, 56-65.• Marshall, H. W. (1998). A mutually adaptive learning paradigm (MALP) for Hmong students. Cultural Circles, 3, 134-141.