how on earth to accommodate english language learners

Greetings in Different Languages

The chapter lists the following as tools for enhancing nonlinguistic learning

  • graphic organizers
  • physical models or manipulatives
  • mental pictures
  • pictures, illustrations, pictographs
  • kinesthetic activities

Thinking about applying this to an Earth Science classroom is fairly easy. So much of what we learn relies on visual representations and models that we can manipulate. I found an article that addresses strategies to boost English language learning in science and social studies. Their strategies are as follows;

1. Manage Vocabulary: choose targeted vocabulary to act as a foundation for further learning, have students create vocabulary collection tools, and to create vocabulary connections

2. Build Background: All students come in at various levels, informal assessments of prior knowledge will help determine where to start and what background needs to be enhanced before moving on. In order to help bridge the gaps, picture books, lower level texts, podcasts, or websites can be useful in or out of class for students that are struggling with content.

3. Use Visuals: Success in science and social studies in particular can be reliant on a “student’s ability to comprehend specific vocabulary and abstract concepts and to recall terms…” Props, basic websites, historical documents, scientific illustrations and charts, maps, and timelines are all extremely useful.

The article says that putting students in control of their own learning is important, and much easier when they have visuals and manipulatives that they can process in their own way. This is particularly important for English language learners because even when words don’t necessarily carry the meanings we need them to to get our points across, these tools can still relay the same message.

 

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