by Susan Wallace Research on effective education for ELLs clearly indicates that instruction in a student's first language provides the most positive student outcomes (Thomas and Collier; see Bibliography, below.) However, this article is addressed to teachers and administrators in schools without bilingual or dual language programs.It describes an instructional framework that helps teachers scaffold content and language learning for ELLs, suggests possible first steps in implementing some components of this framework, and directs teachers to additional resources.Sheltered Instruction - The SIOP Model The term "sheltered instruction" is used to describe those instructional practices that help teachers make content more accessible and comprehensible for ELLs.
The thirty components of the SIOP lesson-planning checklist can be used with any curriculum or program, for students at any age or level of English proficiency.
Experienced teachers recognize the SIOP components as effective teaching strategies for all students.
However, it is the systematic use of all components to scaffold content and language instruction that provides the support that ELLs, even those who have "exited" from a special program or service, need to succeed in mainstream classrooms.
In this article I have highlighted several components of SIOP that have been of general interest to mainstream teachers.
For a full description of SIOP and further examples of the components discussed below, read Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model by Echevarria, Vogt, and Short.
Selected components of the SIOP lesson-planning checklist Write clearly defined language objectives (SIOP component #2)The goal of creating language objectives and sharing them with students is to provide a focus for purposeful teaching and learning.
* Teachers who are not accustomed to thinking intentionally about language development may struggle with this critical component. (2002) A National Study of School Effectiveness for Language Minority Students Long-Term Academic Achievement.
They understand that language objectives include vocabulary but it is not always easy for them to identify language structures, forms or functions that they may need to teach and model or to set realistic expectations for their ELL students. (1999) The Effects of Instructional Conversations and Literature Logs on the Story Comprehension and Thematic Understanding of English Proficient and Limited English Proficient Students. Wallace started her career in education in 1965 as a high school Spanish teacher.
However, mainstream teachers who have used language objectives have commented that this intentional focus on language has helped native English-speaking students who also struggle with academic language demands.*(Also true for the more familiar teaching activity, "write clearly defined content objectives", SIOP component #1.)Try this: Understand and connect language proficiency standards to your instruction. Since that time she has taught Spanish, English, ESL and EFL in grades 3 through the university, in the former Soviet Union, England and the USA.
Read the new Washington ELD (English Language Development) proficiency level descriptors and standards. What level of proficiency do your ELL students have on this standard: beginning, advanced beginning, intermediate, advanced, or transitional? (1992) Rating Instructional Conversations, A Guide. From 1985 to 2002 she was Coordinator of ELL and, at various times, Title I, LAP, Indian Education and Language Arts, for Highline School District where she currently works part time as a staff development consultant.
What does this level of proficiency imply for your instruction? In the last four years she has focused on the issues faced by mainstream teachers working with ELLs and other struggling students in their classes.