Guide Struggles over Difference: Curriculum, Texts, and Pedagogy in the Asia-Pacific

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Skip to main content. Become a Teacher. Graduate and PD. Want help deciding or information on a graduate program or PD? Advising For You. Want to speak to an Advisor about which grad program is right for you? Book Chapter. Abstract Struggles over Difference addresses education, schools, textbooks, and pedagogies in various countries of the Asia-Pacific, offering critical curriculum studies and policy analyses of national and regional educational systems.

Learning is more likely to occur when young people's expectations about how to interact with adults and other children match the teachers' and administrators' expectations for such interaction. Saravia-Shore and Martinez found that Puerto Rican high school dropouts who had succeeded in an alternative high school credited their increased achievement to the difference in the way adults treated them in each school. They reported that they felt they were treated as children in the regular high school, but the staff members of the alternative school treated them as adults.

Specifically, their new teachers expected that they do their homework because they had enrolled in order to pass the GED examination. Teachers in the alternative high school showed Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners an understanding of the students' cultural norm of having families at an early age and being responsible for other members of their family. Since they knew the students had genuinely pressing responsibilities including caring for their families and working to support them , they did not criticize students for being late to class, so long as their work was completed.

Simply put, the students felt that the teachers in the alternative school understood their life experiences and cared about their success. Jordan, Tharp, and Baird-Vogt have shown that when teachers incorporate the home culture's expected patterns of interaction and discourse, students feel more comfortable in school and participate more actively in learning situations. When students are used to caring for other children at home, they have a foundation for cooperative learning and peer teaching.

They can succeed with cooperative learning and peer teaching if they are given the opportunity to use them and the support of the teacher. If children are accustomed to having responsibilities in caring for their physical environment at home, they often feel comfortable in caring for and managing the school environment as well. Nothing makes learning come alive more than engaging students in arts activities that encourage dialogue on issues that are important to them. Providing opportunities for students to express themselves through the visual and performing arts enables them to learn about and develop their talents and multiple intelligences: not only verbal and mathematical intelligences but also visual, spatial, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences Gardner, Young children benefit from being encouraged to make sense of their world and their relationships through drawing and painting graphic images.

Encouraging students to use their imaginations and taking time to elicit their interpretations of visual arts through open-ended questions in a classroom setting is valuable in itself. Yet these conversations also enable students to understand, as they listen to other classmates, the multitude of interpretations that are possible when viewing the same work of art. Parents can be invited to accompany their children as a group to an art museum and to observe the teacher asking children to describe what they see and what the artwork means to them.

Once they've made such a visit, parents may be more comfortable taking their children back to the museum. Similarly, poetry can be a jumping-off place for discussions. Then, students can learn how to perform their own work. Researchers summarized the results of programs that integrated the arts in curriculum in Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development Deasy, They agreed that "well-crafted arts experiences produce positive academic and social effects" p.

In CAPE schools, teams of teachers and teaching artists planned and taught curriculum units that typically integrated a visual art form with an academic subject such as reading or social studies. The results "demonstrated that the low SES children in arts-integrated schools perform better than those in comparison schools in terms of [standardized tests of mathematics and reading] test scores" Deasy, , p.

DeMoss and Morris investigated the question of how the arts support cognitive growth in students. They found that "students from all achievement levels displayed significant increases in their ability to analytically assess their own learning following arts-integrated units," while "no such gains were associated with traditional instructional experiences" , p.

Observations of final performances in the arts-integrated units corroborated students' own assessments. Students who had difficulties controlling their behavior and staying on task performed their parts in final events with seriousness and competency. This finding held particularly true for those children hardest to reach by traditional approaches. These developments could have significant positive effects on students' general cognitive growth over time, particularly if students experience arts-integrated learning in their classrooms on a regular basis.

A more recent study demonstrating the benefits of integrating visual arts in the curriculum on young children's cognitive development was reported in the New York Times Kennedy, Third grade students in the Learning through Art program sponsored by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum were found to have "performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills—including thorough description, hypothesizing, and reasoning—than did students who were not in the program" Kennedy, , p.

In this program, the Guggenheim Museum sends teaching artists to the schools where they collaborate with the teacher for 90 minutes per class one day a week over a or week period, helping students and teachers learn about and make art. Groups of students are also taken to the Guggenheim two or three times in that period to see exhibitions. Posters of artwork can enliven a classroom and be a starting point for enriching conversations. If there are restrictions on displaying such work on the walls, use inexpensive foam core panels that fold out and stand up as the background for a classroom gallery.

Invite children to describe the artwork on the posters and create a story about what is happening in the pictures—what may have happened before and what may happen next. Children can learn how to mix primary colors, discovering the secondary colors that are created when any two primary colors are combined. Children enjoy painting, whether it's finger paint for the youngest students or tempera paint for middle and high school students. Students can do collaborative arts projects, putting together individual pieces into quilts or developing murals.

Lawrence uses art to interpret the history of African Americans who migrated from the South to the North during the early 20th century. Such visual references to historical events bring social studies to life. Photography is another art form that children can learn from an adult, be it a teacher, a teacher's colleague, or a parent. Students can use disposable cameras to select locations, people, and objects from their environment to photograph; the photos can be posted in the classroom "gallery" and discussed or used to build a story, play, or poem. Photographic "essays" are another way of sharing one's home culture with others.

Middle and high school students enjoy "poetry slams" in which they compete to be the best performer of their own poems. Learning songs is another way to experience poetry. From the youngest children's songs of Woody Guthrie to favorite world folk songs to the songs of social justice in the Civil Rights Movement, music illuminates the human condition and makes social studies more memorable. Students can even read plays aloud in the classroom, and later the students themselves can write and perform plays for the class.

Caring for students includes positively influencing their decisions related to their physical well-being. Congress passed the Child Nutrition Act in June , requiring school districts to craft "wellness" policies. Such policies should include goals for nutrition education and ways to increase the physical activity of all students. Educators who are aware of the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes are alarmed.

According to Kleinfield a, p. A1 , "One in three children born in the United States [in ] are expected to become diabetic in their lifetimes, according to a projection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The forecast for Latinos is even bleaker: one in every two. Nationally, the growing problem of overweight youngsters affects minority students disproportionately. Childhood Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is often linked to obesity.

In the —04 Child Trends study, Compare their rate to the figure for black males Among girls ages 6—11, the highest percentage In the 12—19 age range, black females were the highest percent of overweight youngsters at Moreover, "Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea, and Japan, are acutely susceptible to Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease" Santora, , p.

In addition, they develop Type 2 diabetes at far lower weights than people of other races; at any weight they are 60 percent more likely than whites to contract the disease. Teachers can help to counteract television commercials for fast food, larger portions, sodas, sugary snacks, and sedentary lifestyles that feed childhood obesity and often lead to diabetes, particularly among Asians, Latinos, and African Americans. Unfortunately, "even as health authorities pronounced obesity a national problem, daily participation in gym classes dropped to 28 percent in from 42 percent in , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" Santora, , p.

To promote healthier eating habits, teachers can assign research projects comparing the calories in fast foods in various restaurants, soft drinks including diet sodas , breakfast foods, and snacks fried versus baked chips, the nutrition facts about various kinds of microwave popcorn. If each child researches one product, the class can create a chart comparing all of them.

A similar class project could ask students to act as detectives, uncovering the amount of high-fructose corn syrup in various products by investigating and recording the information on the ingredients label. Teachers of older students can show the film Super Size Me , which puts a human face on the effects of fast foods and also contains information about nutritious foods.

Teachers interested in making wellness a part of the curriculum can integrate units on the health benefits of food with complex carbohydrates beans and multigrain or whole grain bread compared to highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread and most pastas. They also might help students investigate why eating apples and other fruits as snacks is healthy as well as delicious; the health benefits of leafy green vegetables; making sandwiches or wraps of roasted vegetables; the higher levels of mercury in larger fish compared to smaller fish; and the benefits of olive oil compared to butter and margarine.

One school district in Texas used the Get FIT Families in Training program for a nine-week summer intervention camp for their students who were overweight. For five days each week, students exercised, ate healthy snacks and lunches, and learned about good nutrition; their parents came to the school one night a week to learn about nutrition to support their children.

The program, developed by Peggy Visio, a dietitian and adjunct professor, also introduced the 5th graders to dancing, kickboxing, yoga, swimming, and volleyball. The benefits of involving parents are clear: they can support a healthier lifestyle in the home and advocate for healthy lunches and snacks in school. Community-based organizations often sponsor summer camps and after-school programs.

Taking part in sports; yoga; tai chi; or simple deep, slow breathing also helps reduce stress. Even inviting a well-informed parent or a teacher or a health professional from a local hospital to share information on healthy nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction will positively influence students in this area. Teachers can explore community schools as models for an educational approach that puts children at the center and addresses cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs and strengths.

Community schools also offer "structured enrichment activities and acknowledge students' need for choice, control, competence, and belonging" p. Community schools open their classrooms to community-based organizations and resources that support children through after-school homework help and enrichment programs as well as supportive programs for parents, such as ESL, GED preparation, parenting courses, and parent and community leadership workshops in the evening. Some community schools have dental clinics on site; others have nurseries so that teenage mothers can complete school.

Some schools in high asthma areas have clinics in the school so students can get assistance and miss less school. Community schools make an array of community resources accessible to support children and families in reaching their potential. The ASCD Commission identified several nonschool factors that influence academic achievement such as nutrition, parent participation in their child's school, time watching television, mobility, and mothers' educational level.

Important, too, is research by McLaughlin and colleagues showing that adolescents who participate regularly in community-based youth development programs—including arts, sports, and community service—have better academic and social outcomes as well as higher educational and career aspirations than other teens. Chicago, Illinois, has one of the largest community school initiatives in the United States.

Of Chicago's schools, now operate as community schools. They serve an average of 15, students and their families each year. A study by Blank and Berg , p. In Indianapolis, Indiana, a community high school started in now has 49 community partners. These organizations offer mental and physical health consultation, day-care and after-school programs, college preparation, and adult education programs. Their students' standardized test scores have risen 10 to 15 points every year since the program began.

The sophomores tested in outscored those in all the traditional high schools in Indianapolis. In recent years, standardized testing has been used to drive school reform, with decidedly mixed results. Multiple indicators of academic performance and progress on schoolwork throughout the year should be a part of this approach. Valenzuela and colleagues suggest an approach that would take into account: "1 input the adequacy of resources , 2 process the quality of instruction , and 3 output what students have learned as measured by tests or other indicators " p.

The use of standardized testing alone tends to focus on output, neglecting the other two dimensions.

Tulsa Public Schools

Students who live in communities of poverty often do not have the access to resources or highly qualified teachers that students in wealthier districts do. Thus, they are far from experiencing equal educational opportunity. Among many others, Hodgkinson has suggested that the focus of the current high-stakes standardized testing system is too narrow: An additional problem involves the heavy preoccupation with reading and math readiness skills and abilities in the early years of schooling.

While these skills are obviously important, factors that are less focused on academics, such as self-confidence, resilience, caring, emotional development, and supportive family members may be just as important. One of the hidden agendas here is that educational success will be defined by the student's ability to take standardized multiple-choice tests.

Half of the elementary schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, are evaluating their kindergartners using an page report card, assessing language, reading, writing, math, science, social studies, health, movement, art, and music as well as social and emotional development. Rather than checkmarks for "sometimes," "usually," and "consistently," parents are encountering terms such as "pre early emergent," "early emergent," "emergent," and "novice.

They will need some help to understand the difference between seeing an "A" on their child's report card and looking at a child's stage of development, regardless of the advantage of getting a better feeling of what students are really learning. Unless parents are prepared for this change, the desirable shift to see learning as growth, using a variety of clinical and statistical measures, may not catch on. The Just for the Kids Study of Best Practices NCEA, also noted that "all of the high-performing schools we visited draw data from multiple assessments and use those data to inform every decision.

In addition to the outcome skills of reading and mathematics, most of us want our students to develop such habits of mind as questioning, observing closely, making connections, creating meaning, valuing their experience, identifying patterns, exhibiting empathy, and evaluating their own work. Students become more aware of these capacities when they are identified, discussed, and assessed. Lincoln Center Institute has developed an assessment tool to assess habits of mind that are not measurable through standardized tests.

Looking to the year history of philosophy and practice at the institute, Madeleine Fuchs Holzer developed definitions for nine capacities for imaginative learning. For example, she defined "creating meaning" as creating interpretations on the basis of previous capacities such as questioning, noticing deeply, identifying patterns, and making connections , seeing these in light of others in the community, creating a synthesis, and expressing it in your own voice Holzer, Holzer shared the capacities with faculty from at least eight colleges and numerous elementary and high schools during the Lincoln Center Institute Summer Institute.

She encouraged and received feedback about them and revised the capacities through several iterations. The institute published the definitions of the capacities Holzer, and then asked a consultant, Drew Dunphy, to work with a group of teachers from the High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry in New York City to develop rubrics for the capacities. There are several advantages to working as a team to develop rubrics.

Teachers can spot gaps in colleagues' efforts and work to strengthen them. In addition, when teachers develop and own an assessment instrument, students' goals and outcomes become more consistent. By identifying the development of these capacities as their goal, teachers let students know that they value the expression of these innate qualities of thought and emotion.

Another assessment that engages students in the process is the use of portfolios. Teachers and students can develop portfolios containing samples of their classwork and teacher-made tests over the year. Asking students to review their portfolios bimonthly and select the best examples of their work for that time period coaches them in self-assessment and enables them to see their progress.

The teacher can share these portfolios on parents' night to show how students are doing. In addition, if students don't perform well on a standardized test used in a high-stakes event, such as promotion to the next grade, their work samples could also be used to show that they are ready for the next grade. The term "linguistically and culturally diverse students" encompasses a vast array of young people.

American Education System Essay | Bartleby

As President John F. Kennedy famously suggested, America is a "nation of immigrants. Now that so many dual-language bilingual programs have been in place for the past 20 years, however, we can see that coming to a school that supports becoming bilingual and biliterate can actually be an advantage. As the world becomes more economically interdependent, the advantages of bilingualism and cross-cultural understanding are better understood. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the number of high school students who are enrolled in foreign language programs in public high schools has grown steadily from —when 3.

Recent research has redefined the nature of how we understand the educational vulnerability of linguistically and culturally diverse students. Stereotypes and myths have begun to give way, laying a foundation on which to reconceptualize existing educational practices. Current thinking emphasizes the value of speaking more than one language. Rather than being considered "disadvantaged" as speakers of a language other than English, such students are now being considered potentially bilingual and biliterate.

The first language L1 is now considered a base on which English language learners ELLs can build "additive" bilingualism learning a second language [L2] while becoming literate in their first language and eventually literate in both. Teachers wishing to see evidence of the effectiveness of various programs for ELLs should be aware of the work of Thomas and Collier , who conducted the most comprehensive longitudinal research study to date on the long-term academic effectiveness of eight different K—12 programs for language-minority students, as well as English monolingual students who participate in two-way immersion also called dual-language programs.

Thomas and Collier researched English as a second language ESL , transitional bilingual education, developmental bilingual education DBE , one-way one group learning bilingually and two-way two groups learning each other's language as a second language bilingual programs, as well as the placement of ELLs in mainstream classes.

Their report of their study from to covers six sites in the United States. In researching more than , student records each year, they converted standardized test scores into normal curve equivalents and percentages.

Preparing teachers in Asia-Pacific for inclusive education

They found the following highlights. Enrichment [90 percent instruction in L1 and 10 percent in L2] and one-way and two-way developmental bilingual education DBE programs or dual-language, bilingual immersion are the only programs … found … that assist [English language learners] to fully reach the 50th percentile in both L1 and L2 in all subjects and to maintain that level of high achievement, or reach even higher levels through the end of schooling. The fewest dropouts come from these programs. The research findings of this study indicate that ESL or bilingual services, as required by Lau v.

Nichols , raise students' achievement levels by significant amounts. Another significant finding: ELL students who attend remedial, segregated programs do not close the achievement gap after being placed in mainstream classes. Instructional gains are best accomplished in an enrichment, not a remedial, program, Thomas and Collier observed. They cautioned against short-term bilingual education one to three years. They found that it takes a minimum of four years of bilingual schooling or four years of schooling in a student's L1 in the home country and four years in bilingual programs for students to reach grade-level performance in English the 50th percentile on the subtest of reading in English.

Thus the most efficient schooling is in dual-language programs where both L1 and L2 are learned simultaneously and students have the opportunity to talk with students fluent in that L2. Thomas and Collier found that the strongest predictor of student achievement in English L2 was formal L1 schooling in either the home country or the host country United States.

Schools need to create a natural learning environment in school, with lots of natural, rich language L1, L2 , both oral and written, used by students and teachers; meaningful, "real world" problem-solving; all students working together; media-rich learning video, computers, print ; challenging thematic units that get and hold students' interest; and using students' bilingual-bicultural knowledge to bridge to new knowledge across the curriculum. Because one of the goals of bilingual programs in the 21st century is to prepare students to be proficient bilingually in the workplace, Thomas and Collier , p.

Native-English speakers in two-way bilingual immersion programs maintained their English, added a second language to their knowledge base, and achieved well above the 50th percentile in all subject areas on norm-referenced tests in English. These bilingually schooled students equaled or outperformed their comparison groups being schooled monolingually, on all measures.

In addition, the L2 academic achievement of older immigrant arrivals with strong grade-level schooling completed in L1 in the home country was less influenced by low socioeconomic status and more dependent on number of years completed. Likewise, students of low socioeconomic status who were born in the U. Today, educators prefer that students develop linguistic facility in both English and their home language, rather than learn English only and lose the home language, only to have to relearn a second language later in their school years. Research shows that students' cognitive development proceeds more readily in their native language and that students learn content more easily in the native language while they are learning English as a second language.

An interdisciplinary approach to curriculum—breaking from many decades of separation among the various disciplines—is a powerful ally in teaching culturally and linguistically diverse children. Instead of teaching reading as a separate subject, for instance, teachers now view reading as a process for learning concepts and exploring subjects and their connections. Cooperative learning groups and peer tutoring work well in conjunction with computer-mediated language learning. And parents are partners in their children's schooling, as well as resources for teachers in understanding young people's cultural patterns of communication and interaction.

The following strategies synthesize the approaches that research emphasizes as most promising in raising the achievement levels of linguistically diverse students. Students who come to school with a home language other than English learn more from programs in which their native language is one of the languages of instruction. By continuing to learn subject content in their native language, the students do not fall behind in their academic subjects while acquiring English.

Potentially bilingual students who are in developmental or late-exit bilingual programs for five years seem to progress at a faster rate in subjects presented in English than do their counterparts in early-exit bilingual programs. When potentially bilingual students continue to learn in their home language while learning English, they continue to develop cognitively and acquire skills such as reading that can later be transferred to English. Once they have learned vocabulary in English, they can comprehend what they decode.

The context of learning is more difficult if instruction is entirely in a student's second language. Students taught solely in the second language also risk losing the opportunity to become bilingual and biliterate. A school that respects the language and culture of its ethnically and linguistically diverse students and their parents or guardians develops educational situations that maximize the resources these students bring to school. Instead of being confused and distressed by trying to cope in a language they cannot understand, students continue to learn content and skills and develop a feeling of efficacy as well as belonging to their new school.

If the school context does not allow for this linguistic and cultural diversity, students are more likely to feel alienated and confused. When the number of students in a school who speak the same language merits the establishment of a bilingual program, encouraging young people to learn content in their native language while learning English as a second language is likely to increase overall learning. Students can learn subjects such as mathematics, science, and social studies in their native language until they have learned sufficient English to study the academic content in English.

With the help of such programs as Logo-Writer, students can use computers to do programming and word processing in their native language. In one 6th grade classroom, for example, new immigrant students compared dwellings around the world. They saw photographs of different types of dwellings and learned that cultural responses to different ecological systems were one of the reasons for differences among earlier cultures.

Igloos were adaptations to their environment just as the adobe "apartments" of Native Americans in the southwestern United States were adaptations to theirs. The builders of both types of dwellings used available resources. Using Spanish, students learned to program geometrical shapes to represent igloos and Anasazi dwellings.

They also wrote about the structures in Spanish. Students proficient in languages other than English learn more effectively in dual-language learning situations. They continue to learn content in their native language while learning English as a second language by interacting with monolingual English-speaking students who are also learning a second language.

This approach is valuable for several reasons. First, young people's native language is affirmed and respected when it becomes a subject being taught to their English-speaking peers. Second, potentially bilingual students can share their native-language expertise as peer tutors to English-speaking students who are learning a second language for enrichment; in the process, they gain experience working in English as well.

Third, the long-term gains are greater because, in this additive bilingual strategy, students proficient in languages other than English become bilingual and biliterate. Fourth, students are not segregated into classes for potentially bilingual students or monolingual English-speaking students; all are integrated and become bilingual over a period of five or six years.

In some schools, students spend half the day in an immersion situation, learning content in English, and the other half immersed in learning content in their native language. In other schools, students initially learn specific subjects such as math, art, music, or physical education in English, their second language. Sometimes, monolingual English-speaking students are immersed in a second language, such as Spanish, with native Spanish speakers. Based on many years of working with scores of two-way immersion programs, Howard and Christian have specific suggestions for implementing two-way immersion bilingual programs.

They follow Thomas and Collier and others in suggesting a minimum of four to six years of bilingual instruction. Howard and Christian also suggest other teaching practices including constructivist, child-centered, active discovery learning. Cooperative learning offers students opportunities for conversations in both languages if the groups are structured to include equal numbers of native speakers of both L1 and L2.

Cooperative learning is also an opportunity to develop cross-cultural understanding. Teachers can enhance the learning of a second language by structuring informal situations in which students who are proficient in languages other than English act as peer tutors for monolingual English-speaking students learning a second language and vice versa. Second-language learning for both groups is enhanced when they can communicate informally at certain times during the school day in their second language.

This alternative social organization of learning a second language does not rely solely on the teacher as the locus of teaching. Students become teachers and resources for one another; second-language learning is reciprocal. Students learning Spanish as a second language, for example, can be encouraged to use the language in functional situations. Younger students can learn aspects of Latino cultures by using recipes in Spanish to cook Mexican, Dominican, and Puerto Rican dishes.

Or they can learn about the music of each culture by learning to sing songs in Spanish. Older students can learn about the rain forests in Central and South America; they might, as one example, graph the number of medicines derived from plants in this ecosystem. Rote drill and practice are boring and lack meaning for young people; holistic experiences are much more engaging. For example, students can use language-experience approaches to learn science in English.

In doing so, they connect doing and observing an experiment to speaking, writing, and reading. Because their oral language is written down for later reading, they can understand what they read, and their reading has meaning. To be competent in communicating, students need to go beyond simply mastering the rules of grammar. They also must learn how to apply social and cultural rules. Students learning a second language must learn, for example, that the informal language used with peers and friends may not be appropriate in more formal situations, such as making a request of a teacher or answering questions during a job interview.

Students must learn how to take turns in a conversation, when to talk and keep still, how to "demonstrate" listening, and when to be direct or indirect. These culturally appropriate ways of speaking can be learned when students hear stories, see dramas, read books with dialogue, and write and act out plays.


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As previously discussed, instructional conversation is an extended dialogue that is educational and relevant to students' lives. Tharp and colleagues advocate a holistic approach that employs all five standards, including: teachers and students producing together, developing language and literacy across the curriculum, connecting school to students' lives, teaching complex thinking, and teaching through instructional conversation.

The teacher begins reading a children's story by first showing the illustrations and asking the students to describe them. After reading the story, the teacher asks a student to retell it. Subsequently, the teacher may ask the students to write the story as a play with a different ending or to write a continuation of the story. This technique helps young people see the connection between writing and reading. The teacher asks students to break into groups of five.

Each group is responsible for writing and illustrating a story. Group members must first negotiate who will do which tasks in English, then which events to illustrate. They must agree on the sequence of events and number them sequentially. One way of structuring this activity is to provide pages labeled "main characters," "problem to be solved," "first event," "second event," "third event," and "resolution of problem.

High school students can be assigned to watch one scene of a play that takes place in the culture they are learning about. They then form groups and write the scene as they recall it. After the groups respond to one another's efforts and refine the dialogue perhaps by referring to the video of the play , they act out the scene. A subsequent assignment might call on them to change the role and status of one of the characters and decide how that character would speak: What might he or she say differently?

How would the other characters respond? The students can then act out the scene, using the same basic content but saying things in a different way to someone with a different social role. Students can also imagine real-life situations in which they might find themselves and act out the parts of different speakers, alternating in social roles. They can get feedback from peers who are members of the linguistic group they are studying. The learning of language cannot be separated from what is being learned. Too often, students with limited proficiency in English are required to learn the abstract or grammatical aspects of language as opposed to the functional and communicative aspects.

These more important functional skills are best developed in conjunction with the learning of content. When students learn a second language in a functional way similar to the way they learned their first language , the process has real meaning. Learning makes sense and is more interesting. Students also benefit by learning cross-cultural skills. Learning greetings in a second language, for example, as well as the "polite" behavior associated with that language enables young people to communicate more easily in a new culture.

Learning how to request food at a dinner table requires basic grammar and polite behavior. Students can go on to discuss how polite behavior differs in different cultures and what "polite" means in the classroom among friends, in a restaurant, and in the school cafeteria. Instead of removing students from a content lesson in mathematics because they are not yet proficient in English, the teacher can pair bilingual and monolingual students in small groups and provide math-related tasks within those groups.

Bilingual students will assist the monolingual students in completing these tasks while providing natural models of language development within the content domain. Pairs of students may perform a simple experiment in their classroom: They are to find out "what will happen if …? Students write the steps of their experiment in the form of an experience chart and tell what happened when they followed the steps.

Previous Course Development Recipients

If they are stuck, they can ask another pair of students for help. The sequence of steps is then written and may be illustrated with pictures. Another day, they can use the experience chart to practice reading aloud in English. For older students who have learned the processes of mathematics addition, subtraction, multiplication, division in their native language, and particularly for those who already know the Arabic number system, a review of the math process in English is an effective way of learning functional English.

When young people understand a process in numerical form, they can learn the vocabulary and the rules for asking questions and stating solutions. Often, schools cannot form bilingual classrooms because their students are so linguistically diverse that the number of children speaking any one language is insufficient for a separate class. In these settings, pullout programs should be avoided; they stigmatize children.

Yet sheltered English and content-embedded ESL programs benefit students who are proficient in languages other than English. Such programs ensure that students have ample time to use English themselves rather than sitting as a passive audience for the teacher. The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol was developed to assist teachers in using sheltered English strategies. SIOP was constructed by Short and Echevarria based on the research concerning best practices, as well as on the experiences of middle school teachers and researchers who collaborated in developing the observation tool.

The participating teachers used sheltered instruction in traditional ESL classes, content-based ESL classes, and sheltered content classes. SIOP provides concrete examples of sheltered instruction that teachers can use to support ELL students' understanding of instructional content. Several teachers might use SIOP as the basis for supporting each other as a learning community while they try out new strategies and discuss their practice, sharing questions and solutions. The sheltered English strategy makes learning of content more comprehensible to English language learners.

The strategy includes Speaking at a rate and level of complexity appropriate to the proficiency level of students. Using visual aids and graphic organizers as well as math manipulatives. Building on prior knowledge. Providing frequent opportunities for interaction among L1 and L2 speakers. Modeling academic tasks. Reviewing key content and vocabulary. In sheltered English classrooms, teachers provide many examples and hands-on activities so students can comprehend abstract as well as concrete instructional materials.

This approach need not be complex. For example, the teacher may demonstrate an activity and describe in simple terms what she is doing. As she draws a face, she tells the children, "I am drawing eyes," and "I am drawing a mouth," and "These are teeth. Even the use of drawing as a teaching device may model for students the effectiveness of nonverbal means of mastering their new language and new culture; this activity may lead to the use of drawing as a tool for peer tutoring.

Students proficient in languages other than English learn more by being actively engaged in cooperative learning than by listening passively. Students whose native language is other than English benefit from working in cooperative learning groups with native English speakers because they can hear a native model of English and practice their English in authentic communicative situations. Teachers who structure cooperative learning situations for ELLs enable their students to become more actively engaged in learning.

Potentially bilingual students need to practice generating and rehearsing their second language. Small groups in which each child has a specific role and specific tasks enable youngsters to learn more than if they are merely passive listeners.

American Education System Essay

For this reason, cooperative learning groups are more productive than whole-class instruction because small groups three or four students challenge children to use language more frequently. However, the students must be grouped around meaningful tasks so that they use language for work-related communication. In a junior high science class, students identify some of the problems in their neighborhood.

They then collaboratively develop a questionnaire to use to interview people in the community to find out what they identify as neighborhood problems. If their community has many residents who speak a language other than English, they may need a second version of the questionnaire in that language. After forming teams to interview community members about the neighborhood problems, students return to school, record the responses, and graph them by frequency. They can then discuss whether there is a problem that they can work together to solve, what resources they need to solve it, and the pros and cons of various suggestions for achieving a solution.

In another example, younger students may be assigned to research one of two Native American groups: the Algonquin or the Iroquois. Their goal is to discover the adaptive strategies each group used to take advantage of the environment for their dwellings, clothing, food, and transportation. The students are assigned to different roles, such as researcher, recorder, reporter, illustrator, or graph maker to graph the results of the research. The teacher gives each group a coloring book containing line drawings of people from the Algonquin and Iroquois nations pursuing activities of daily life.

The students can interpret the drawings to identify means of transportation, materials from which dwellings were made, and so forth. They display their findings on a chart, and they also write a brief narrative describing the drawing. Teachers have a foundation on which to build cross-age peer tutoring when their students' cultures emphasize the care of younger children by older siblings Puerto Rican, Hawaiian, and Chicano cultures, for example. Research shows that cross-age tutoring enhances learning for those who are tutored and for the tutors themselves.

Heterogeneous cross-ability grouping promotes student tutoring through the sharing of different skills in different contexts. For example, a student who is still learning English may be strong in math and can assist an English-speaking classmate with a mathematics project. Teachers can provide learning opportunities for students who are proficient in languages other than English by organizing their classroom to include cross-age tutoring and peer tutoring. Students who are proficient in another language, such as Spanish, can provide language models and practice for monolingual English speakers learning Spanish.

In some learning situations, Spanish can be used to converse about a shared activity. In another situation in which English is the primary language, the tutoring roles can be reversed. Students are studying number systems. Using the chalkboard, a student who speaks only English demonstrates the use of zero in the Arabic number system to a native Spanish speaker by showing math problems and then working with the other student to solve them.

After learning the Mayan number system, the native Spanish speaker then demonstrates, in Spanish, the Mayan number system and its use of place and zero to the English-speaking student, explaining that the Mayans were the first world culture to use a symbol for zero. Establishing communication is the most important consideration in teaching. In many bilingual populations, language alternation or code switching is frequently used for more effective communication. In conversations, either teacher or student may change the language in midstream to catch the listener's attention, to emphasize something, to clarify, to elaborate, or to address those in a group who may understand the second language more readily.

Therefore, students and teachers should be able to readily use these naturally occurring alternations to achieve communication in the classroom. In discussing the whole language approach, in which language is taught naturally as it occurs within any social environment, Goodman has noted, "Whole language programs respect the learners—who they are, where they come from, how they talk, what they read, and what experiences they [have] already had.

In a reading exercise conducted in English, a student hesitates in answering a comprehension question posed by the teacher. The teacher rephrases the question in the child's native language, and the child proudly responds to the question in her native language. In this scenario, the teacher focuses on the goal of story comprehension and alternates language use to achieve this goal. In a family literacy program, five families come together for 90 minutes once a week after school. Their teacher conducts the classes in both Spanish and English, alternating according to the linguistic abilities and preferences of parents and children.

This strategy enables parents and children to feel comfortable in expressing themselves in either language. Their activities include conversing, reading, writing, and creating art projects. The parents tend to use Spanish to express themselves; the teacher alternates between speaking Spanish with the parents and English with the children. The children also use both languages freely as they speak to their parents, their brothers and sisters, and the teacher. In developing literacy, the specific language used is not as important as encouraging communication between parents and their children.

The intent here is to use the language skills of the parents as a resource so that they can continue assisting their children with reading and writing skills at home. This communication—and the development of an enjoyment of reading and writing together—are the primary goals.

Other outcomes include developing respect for the parents' native language, helping the student to develop biliteracy, and developing the native language as a resource while acquiring literacy in English. Linguistically diverse students have been shown to benefit from interdisciplinary approaches.

Students proficient in languages other than English can learn content with greater comprehension if their learning is interdisciplinary. For students learning English as a second language, thematic approaches enhance learning and comprehension because the new learning is incremental and added to a theme that the students already understand. Having a base vocabulary related to the theme provides students a context in which to fit new learning from the various disciplines.

Vocabulary is reinforced by its use in different subject contexts. Focusing on a theme and relating various disciplines to that theme enables students to better understand each new area, since it is connected to a known core. When there is a theme, the vocabulary and skills can be developed in connection with the content.

This approach provides coherence to students who are proficient in languages other than English. Instead of trying to learn about several separate and distinct areas with diverse vocabularies simultaneously, they can work within a broad, unifying theme. Because students set up, conduct, analyze, report, and write up the experiments as group members, they learn a second language, either English or Spanish, while they are acquiring science skills and content.

They also learn to work cooperatively. All the skills of communication in each language are used on different days to learn, question, record, and share what has been learned from the science experiment. Teachers can create situations in which two potentially bilingual students use a common computer to more readily learn English as a second language. While sharing a word processing program, two second-language learners have the opportunity to generate language, create dialogues, interview each other, assist each other with corrections, and act as an audience for the other's writing.

However, one computer shared by a whole class of students does not allow for as much language practice as does pairing students who have access to a computer laboratory. The kinds of software used for language learning also make a difference. Some language-learning programs simply translate drill and practice into computer formats. Other programs—desktop publishing software, for example—motivate students to write in their second language, since they know that their writing will be edited collaboratively and then published, to be read by classmates and parents or guardians.

The Internet can also be used to correspond with "sister schools" in the same city, another state, or even another country.