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Strategies for Teaching

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After reviewing the various strategies for teaching in the content areas, select one and explain its use. For which content area would you utilize this method? What is the purpose of this method? Which level of English language learner would benefit? Is this something you would feel comfortable using in your classroom? Why/why not?

Various Strategies for Teaching
- You've been introduced to legal mandates that relate to English Language Learners, as well as ways mainstream teachers can correctly identify and assess ELLs (including level of English language proficiency).
-You've investigated various instructional programs and support for ELLs and some basic elements of promoting language acquisition in the classroom.
Most recently, you explored:
- How ELLs benefit from practice in all the four domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing—and a fifth domain, critical thinking)
- Using accommodations for making content more accessible
- Ideas for maximizing communication and cultural awareness between teachers, ELLs, and parents of ELLs through school activities.
Now, it's time to take all the concepts as a whole and look more directly at how to apply them to your own developing teaching style. From my experience, the practical application of theories and methodology to what teachers do on a day-to-day basis may seem daunting in the beginning, but eventually becomes second nature as you learn from experience what works best with your own students!
Chapter Nineteen - High-Impact Strategies for Teaching the Content Areas
Previously, you learned that, regardless of the program and approach used by a particular school, instruction must be high-quality and include high-impact strategies (or research-based strategies) to be effective.
One element of Chapter 19 is Syrja's (2011) description of her system for measuring strategy effectiveness, called effect size (p. 132). Don't be overly concerned if it takes time to catch her exact process; just keep in mind that the higher the number, the greater the association with ELL advancement!
Chapter Twenty - Strategies for Reading / Chapter Twenty One - Strategies for Writing / Chapter Twenty Two - Strategies for Math / Chapter Twenty Three - Strategies for Other Content Areas
These chapters are chock-full of indispensable information, which I believe will serve you for years to come! They are more detailed and extended than some other chapters you've read in the textbook, but your perseverance with reviewing all the information in each will provide some solid preparation for developing your own lesson plans.
These teaching strategies will be at the heart of the week's first Discussion. Remember to specifically choose and analyze one strategy in particular and be ready to apply it to a specific content area (math, social studies, language arts, or science).
All of this leads up to the "big project" for the week, the final writing assignment, which encompasses modification of a pre-existing lesson plan. Just to be very clear about this, you must seek out a lesson plan, but you must make significant changes to this plan. It is not correct to just copy/paste a lesson plan into your Word Document, add a few words, and leave it at that. Important: You should not incorporate the original text of the lesson you have chosen at all (expect for possibly one or two brief direct quotes, if needed)!
In fact, you must both identify strategies that you think work well in the original plan and also add three specific high-impact strategies, learned this week, to improve the lessons. It is important to list a specific grade level (only one) that you would use the lesson for. Also, you must develop the lesson for use in a particular content area (math, social studies, science, or language arts). Finally, all strategies must be appropriate for beginning level ELLs (no advanced ELLs).
Keep in mind this final project must be in essay form (not presented in lesson plan format) and 6- to 8- pages in length (with Title and Reference pages added, that's 8 to 10 pages).

Use three scholarly resources to support and substantiate your written ideas. Note: These reference sources are in addition to the textbook and the Web site you chose for the lesson plan. Therefore, to get distinguished for resources, you must use (and properly cite) at least four references (the textbook, the Web site from which you chose the original lesson plan, plus three more scholarly sources).
Don't forget to:
- Support your modifications by referring to current research and theories.
- Discuss how modifications are reflective of comprehensible input and scaffolding.
- Demonstrate the relationship between culture and language.
- Keep the focus on English Language Learners!
- Thoroughly go over the Grading Rubric for this assignment to ensure that you include all required elements (see link below).
For even more inspiration, I suggest clicking the following link to read the article developed by one school district, "High Impact Strategies for Linking Family Engagement to Student Learning," which includes many ideas for ELLs and their families.

Cross-Cultural Communication

Another recurring theme this week is the improving communication by collaboratively bridging cultural differences. To get even more insight, read the required article by DuPraw & Axner, "Working on Common Cross-Cultural Communication Challenges" in preparation for the final Discussion board:
Last but not least, in the final Journal for the course, you will reflect on your overall assimilation of key skills stated in the course description, including your areas of both strength and challenge.


Syrja, R.C. (2011). How to reach and teach English language learners: Practical strategies to ensure success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Debbie I have decided to go with Math (It was the shortest to type)
Despite the conventional wisdom has suggested, teaching mathematics to English learners is fraught with complexity. For far too long, many educators have taught from the mistaken assumption that English learners have less of struggle in math because, they say, "Math is primarily numbers." That theory does not hold true. Those who teach math, particularly at the middle and high school levels, know that math is rich in language and vocabulary, and English learners often struggle because of their lack of academic vocabulary. In fact, the achievement gap widens substantially in the areas of knowledge and skills, mathematics understanding, and application as students get older. Interesting, the gap is not significant until the middle elementary grades, and then it continues to increase in the subsequent grade levels.
In his study on the effect of language on the teaching of mathematics, Khisty theorized that the widening gap could be attributed to the fact that mathematics becomes more word laden, thus requiring students to be able to interpret and translate words into mathematical symbols and operations. Mathematics understanding and application, which takes the form of problem solving in the classroom, clearly requires a stronger conceptual foundation than does straightforward computation. Language plays an important role in a student's ability to understand and apply mathematics-first, in the comprehension of questions, and second, in the elementary years when children are developing conceptual understanding. The middle grades appear to be a turning point because it is here where the traditional emphasis in mathematics learning shifts from simple whole number facts to more conceptually numbers, concepts, and skills.
A major contributing factor to English learners' struggle in mathematics has to do with our tendency to teach math as a series of steps or procedures. We define the procedural approach to teaching mathematics as a set of steps to take to solve a problem. This approach quickly introduces students to traditionally accepted algorithms or steps. Although doing mathematics requires some knowledge of algorithms, it also requires a good deal of conceptual understanding in order to know why and how to undertake the steps. In other words, it is not enough to know the procedures. Unfortunately, when teachers see students, particularly English learners, quickly mimic the procedure modeled they assume proficiency; in fact, the student has learned only the process, not the concept. This lack of conceptual understanding shows up in the form of persistent misconceptions and errors as students move toward the application of mathematics in the middle and high school years. Although educators have long recommended that we teach math conceptually, the procedural emphasis prevails in many classrooms. This approach presents challenges for all students, especially English learners. Their lack of academic vocabulary contributes to and compounds their lack of conceptual understanding, making achievement in mathematics difficult, and perhaps unattainable.

How to help English Learners Achieve in Math
Every teacher, beginning in kindergarten, plays a vital role in the development of a student's mathematical understanding. It is essential, then, that we approach the teaching of mathematics as a language in itself. O'Malley and Chamot write:

For the child who has to begin to learn a second language, whether on entering school or later, the linguistic concepts and structures have to be taught....Unless the linguistic concepts are presented in concrete and dynamic form, the language used by the teacher will only be a mystery to the hearer. This means that mathematics must not be taught by the teacher writing symbols on the blackboard, rearranging them, getting "answers", asking the class to copy the process and to learn it by heart. Instead the teacher must be trained to involve the children in carefully structured activities, investigations and discussions which will ensure understanding. In short, the teaching of mathematics in a second language must, in effect, adopt the principles, which govern the methods of teaching a second language as a language.

Chamot recommends that the curriculum and its objectives be used as the framework for instruction in the second language. We should conduct a special a special analysis of the language functions and the math-specific understanding required for success in mathematics at every grade level. The vocabulary and language skills necessary to achieve the objectives should then be identified and incorporated into our teachings.
O'Malley and Chamot also suggest that students who have been identified, as English learners should be assessed in the different content areas to determine their proficiency in the language functions required in each one. The mathematics curriculum should then be revised to include attention to the development of the language skills that students with limited proficiency in English require. The mathematics teacher then becomes not necessarily an ESL teacher but rather a teacher of the language needed for students to learn mathematical concepts and skills. This deliberate approach to teaching the language skills and vocabulary necessary for success will help to ensure that students are able to access the content and then learn the concepts underlying the processes in mathematics.
Difficulties That English Learners Face in Math
In addition to lacking the language structures and vocabulary of mathematics in English, students who have come to the United States from other countries may have learned different processes in their native countries from those we follow in mathematics here. These are some common differences that can lead to misconception.
The formation of numbers may vary.
A different use of the decimal from ours. In some countries, large numbers are written with decimals rather than commas, as in 134.765 versus 134,765.
The measurement system common to the United States, which differs from the rest of the world, may be a particular challenge for older English learners.
Most English learners have learned math by rote memorization.
Many students may be accustomed to mental calculations, which means that they may not have been required show work when calculating, or they may show work in a different way.
Fractions may be unfamiliar to ELLs, especially decimals received more emphasis than fractions in their native country.
In some cases, they have learned algorithms differently from the way they are learned in the United States. This is especially true for some English learner students who were older when they arrived in the United States. Rather forbid them to use a different algorithms, allow the students the opportunity to share. Students can learn a lot from each other by comparing algorithms and analyzing similarities and differences. Although the standard algorithm represents an efficient way to solve a math problem, there are several strategies that students may use to sole a problem.
Geometry in particular has many terms that may cause difficulties in understanding. For example, the word right in "right angle" has a completely different meaning from the meanings regarding direction and correctness with which EELs may already be familiar.
Strategies for Math
What becomes clear from the research is that English learners require intensive support in mathematics vocabulary as well as understanding math conceptually rather than as a series of steps to follow by rote. The strategies we examine here divide the instructional sequence into three distinct parts: preinstruction, during instruction, and postinstruction.
Preinstruction Strategies
Lessons should begin by considering the vocabulary and prerequisite knowledge that English learners need to have in place prior to the lesson.
The Strategy: Previewing the Lesson
Students should be taught to preview the text, vocabulary, and text features as a way of connecting to the content and preparing to learn new information. This strategy, used quite often in other content areas, needs to be used more in math.

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Solution Preview

I agree with what the writer says that "This means that mathematics must not be taught by the teacher writing symbols on the blackboard, rearranging them, getting "answers", asking the class to copy the process and to learn it by heart." Remember the theorist from the videos who said that the learning must be very concrete and visual. Instead of seat-work or board-work, the writer ...

Solution Summary

The following posting describes various strategies for teaching.