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ELLs with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education: Six Criteria For Success


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We have developed six criteria for designing classroom activities to promote the language acquisition, content-knowledge development, literacy skills, and critical thinking skills of limited formally schooled ELLs. We demonstrate how to use these criteria and provide a checklist for teachers to use in preparing their own materials.

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ELLs with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education: Six Criteria For Success

  1. 1. Andrea DeCapua The College of New Rochelle Helaine W. Marshall Long Island University
  2. 2. Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education How do we refer to them? LFS (Freeman & Freeman, 2002) SIFE (NY State Department of Education) SLIFE (DeCapua, Smathers, & Tang, 2008)
  3. 3. Needs of SLIFE • Learn basic and grade-level subject area concepts • Develop basic literacy skills • Develop academic ways of thinking • Adapt to cultural differences in learning and teaching
  4. 4. The most frequently asked question in secondary school classrooms is….. WHAT IS ___________________? To define is to know
  5. 5. Cultural Dissonance (Ibarra, 2001) What is a tree? What do dogs and rabbits have in common?
  6. 6. Sample Task (Luria, 1976)
  7. 7. 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 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, 2009)
  8. 8. Two Different Learning Paradigms (DeCapua & Marshall, 2009, in press; Marshall, 1994,1998) Aspects of SLIFE U.S. Classrooms Learning Immediate Future CONDITIONS Relevance Relevance Interconnectedness Independence Shared Individual PROCESSES Responsibility Accountability Oral Transmission Written Word ACTIVITIES Pragmatic Tasks Academic Tasks
  9. 9. 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, 2010; Marshall, 1998)
  10. 10. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm MALP A. Accept Learning Conditions from SLIFE B. Combine Learning Processes from Both Perspectives C. Focus on Learning Activities of US Schooling
  11. 11. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm - MALP Instructional Model SLIFE U.S. Classrooms Immediate Future ACCEPT SLIFE Relevance Relevance CONDITIONS Interconnectedness Independence COMBINE SLIFE & U.S. Shared Individual Responsibility Accountability PROCESSES with Oral Transmission Written Word FOCUS on U.S. ACTIVITIES with familiar Pragmatic Academic language Tasks Tasks & content (DeCapua & Marshall, 2009 in press; Marshall 1994, 1998)
  12. 12. MYSTERY BAG ACTIVITY Choose a bag. Look inside. What is it? Write your answer on the card.
  13. 13. Questions to ask about the Mystery Bag Do you know what it is? Do you know what it is called in your language? Do you like it? Give 4 words to describe it.
  14. 14. Apple Collection
  15. 15. CHECKING ANSWERS One by one, check all the answers Have all students participate in some aspect of the checking › Give answers - tabulate them › Write answers up as others give them › Copy down all descriptive words
  16. 16. More Tasks . . . Create new collections based on student interests and/or curriculum topics Talk/write about the items in the collections using sentence frames Make semantic feature charts based on the characteristics of each item
  17. 17. CATEGORIZATION A/An _______________________ is a/an _______________________ Important: small before big! Important
  18. 18. CHARACTERISTICS with _______________________ Or that has ____________________
  19. 19. ORDER of Noun Phrase Modifiers Opinion Origin Size (Where from) Shape Material Condition (Made of) Age Function Color (Used for)
  20. 20. Six Evaluation Criteria We provide a checklist for teachers to use in preparing their own materials. To see if you are incorporating MALP into your teaching, ask yourself these six questions as you design lessons, projects, and classroom activities.
  21. 21. How am I making this lesson immediately relevant to my students? The category each object represents is something familiar to them The activity begins as a game The activity is making the abstract—classification— concrete, by using real- world objects
  22. 22. How am I helping students develop and maintain interconnectedness? Students share their collections or ideas about collections Students and teacher learn more about each others’ interests Students create collections together as a class
  23. 23. How am I incorporating both shared responsibility and individual accountability? Class collectively creates sentences Pairs work together to come up with additional sentences Each member of pair adds information related to the particular object s/he has
  24. 24. How am I scaffolding the written word through oral interaction? Students share their answers to the questions orally. The teacher writes their descriptive words on the board. The teacher elicits sentences about their objects, which she writes on the board. The students read these sentences back orally and later write them in their notebooks.
  25. 25. What new academic tasks am I introducing? Classifying Comparing & Contrasting Defining Representational definitions vs. functional definitions
  26. 26. What am I doing to make the new tasks accessible to my students? Teacher allows for nonverbal communication Language scaffolded by use of L1 among students Content scaffolded by relevant personal information Content scaffolded by sentence frames
  27. 27. BENEFITS OF COLLECTIONS Building definitions Learning ways to categorize objects Developing vocabulary academic terms descriptive adjectives Collaborating on a class project
  28. 28. Our website: Contact us: Andrea DeCapua Helaine W. Marshall