Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations at New Mexico Highlands University Academic Language and Thinking December 16, 2010
Overview • What is Academic Language and Thinking? • Why should students engage in purposeful, focused and extended academic talk? • What are key features of academic language and academic conversations? • How can we support academic language and thinking?
Academic Language and Thinking?(3 min.) • What is academic language and thinking? • What does academic language and thinking “look like” and “sound like”? • How can district and school leadership support academic language and thinking?
Defining Academic Language and Thinking: What the Researchers Say Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP): CALP is the language students are exposed to during content lessons, in course materials, textbooks, and standardized assessments. Cummins suggests that it generally takes an ELL student up to 2 years to acquire BICS and 5-7 years to acquire the linguistic skills associated with CALP (Cummins 1981). Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL 2007) define academic language as, “Language used in the learning of academic subject matter in formal schooling context; aspects of language strongly associated with literacy and academic achievement, including specific academic terms or technical language, and speech registers related to each field of study”.
Defining Academic Language and Thinking: What the Researchers Say • Zwiers (2005) defines academic language as, “…the set of words and phrases that describe content-area knowledge and procedures; language that expresses complex thinking processes and abstract concepts; and language that creates cohesion and clarity in written and oral discourse”. • Scarcella (2008) defines academic language as the language of power. Students who do not acquire academic language fail in academic settings.
“Brick and Mortar”Dutro and Moran, 2003 • "Brick"words are the vocabulary specific to the content and concepts being taught and include words such as: government, mitosis, metaphor, revolt, arid, revolution, etc…. • "Mortar"words are the words that determine the relationships between and among words.
Content vocabulary(bricks) What is Academic Language? Terms that travel across disciplines Grammar & organization Content vocabulary(bricks)
Content vocabulary(bricks) What is Academic Language? Hypothesize Evidence Analyze Justify CritiqueCompare Terms that travel across disciplines Grammar & organization Content vocabulary(bricks)
Content vocabulary(bricks) What is Academic Language? Hypothesize Evidence Analyze Justify CritiqueCompare Terms that travel across disciplines Grammar & organization Content vocabulary(bricks) AcademicMetaphors ~300/hour!
Content vocabulary(bricks) What is Academic Language? Hypothesize Evidence Analyze Justify CritiqueCompare Text structure Transitions Pronouns ClausesWord orderU-turn termsPunctuation Terms that travel across disciplines Grammar & organization Content vocabulary(bricks) AcademicMetaphors ~300/hour!
Students need chances to authentically talk about: Abstract concepts Higher-order thinking processes Complex ideas
Watching for Academic Language By the 1880's, steam power had dramatically shortened the journey to America. Immigrants poured in from around the world. They came from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Southern and Eastern Europe, and down from Canada. The door was wide open for Europeans. In the 1880s alone, 9% of the total population of Norway emigrated to America. After 1892 nearly all immigrants came in through the newly opened Ellis Island. Families often immigrated together during this era, although young men frequently came first to find work. Some of these then sent for their wives, children, and siblings; others returned to their families in Europe with their saved wages.
3 Ingredients for Acquiring Language VisualsGesturesVerbal Input
3 Ingredients for Acquiring Language VisualsGesturesVerbal Input Output
3 Ingredients for Acquiring Language VisualsGesturesVerbal Input Output Sentence stemsPair-shares PresentationsImprovs (pro-con) Questions (build)
3 Ingredients for Acquiring Language Input Output Co-construction of Meaning
The Need for Meaningful Talk • 85% of class time was devoted to lecture, question and answer, and seatwork. (Nystrand, 1997) • Teachers encouraged elaborations, but only 16% of the paired interactions were beneficial to learning. (Staarman, Krol & Vander Meijden, 2005) • English learners spent only 4% of the school day engaged in talk; and 2% of the school day discussing focal content of the lesson. (Arreaga-Mayer & Perdomo-Rivera, 1996)
Using Our New Language Standards Academic English is nota natural language.It must be explicitly taughtnot merely caught.( Kinsella, 2006) Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations at New Mexico Highlands University
Content Objectives • Understand the concept of sheltered instruction • Understand the importance of lesson preparation and the integration of content and language objectives • Develop a working knowledge of the new ELD Standards
Language Objectives • Participants will recall and list topical information from readings, previous trainings and personal experiences. • Participants will articulate and listen to various points of view related to the day’s topic.
Language Objectives • Individually and in groups begin to synthesize the day’s information through dialogue and reflection. • Participants will work in groups to apply the knowledge of the day in the creation of a lesson plan that takes into account the realities of the classroom.
What is Sheltered Instruction? “Sheltered instruction is an approach for teaching content to English Language Learners in strategic ways that make the subject matter concepts comprehensible while promoting the students’ English language development.” Echevarria, Vogt and Short, Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners, 2004, 2007, 2010
Why is it necessary? • In many of our classrooms the level of the textbook we are teaching from does not match the academic language level of our students. • The academic content and language of the text is difficult for students to negotiate.
Why is it necessary? • Watering down the curriculum allows students to read the curriculum. …but • The richness of the content concepts are lost.
“Sheltered Instruction is good for ALLstudents but it is IMPERATIVE for students with a language or learning challenge!” Mary Ellen Vogt, 2004; 2007
Eight Core Componentsof High Quality Sheltered Instruction • Preparation • Building Background • Comprehensible Input • Strategies • Interaction • Practice / Application • Lesson Delivery • Review / Assessment
Lesson Preparation What: For maximum learning to occur, planning must produce lessons that enable students to make connections between their own knowledge and experiences, and the new information being taught. Why: Lesson planning is critical to both a student's and teacher’s success. When: Every lesson How: Adaptation of content Meaningful activities Supplementary materials Plan for language
Content Objectives • What are they? • Why use them?
Language Objectives • What are they? • Why use them?
Weaving Academic Language into Instructional Planning Content Objectives: Focus of the Lesson (What students should know and be able to do.) Language Objectives: Focus on Language Development, Language Needs & Language Use for the Lesson (HowListening, Speaking, Reading and Writing will be incorporated into the lesson.)
Content and Language Objectives Content objectives are the Language objectives are the HOW WHAT
Verbs for Language Objectives • recall • recite • list • elaborate • define • apply • infer • justify • revise • pre-write • draft • publish • predict • write • identify • negotiate • compare • contrast • listen • respond • interpret • describe • observe • sequence • synthesize
Language Domains • Listening: process, understand, interpret, and evaluate spoken language in a variety of situations • Speaking: engage in oral communication in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes and audiences • Reading: process, understand, interpret, and evaluate written language, symbols and text with understanding and fluency • Writing: engage in written communication in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes and audiences New Mexico ELD Standards 2009
Language Domains • Why are the language domains important?
Remember “Children are capable of high level thinking regardless of their language level.” Margo Gottlieb, Ph.D., WIDA Lead Developer, 2009
Content & Language Objectives • Who gets to see them?
Objectives Should be: • Stated clearly and simply in student friendly language; and • Posted and referred to before, during and after the lesson.
Sample Content and Language Objectives9th Grade Geometry Content Objective: 9-12.G.1.2 Find the area and perimeter of a geometric figure composed of a combination of two or more rectangles, triangles, and/or semicircles with just edges in common. Language Objectives: With your learning partner you will use mathematical vocabulary to explain the process for finding the area and perimeter of geometric figures. During a carousel activity, your group will construct a Venn Diagram to contrast and compare the area and perimeter of one geometric figure to another. Work in pairs to solve and justify statements about the area and perimeter of geometric figures.
NM English Language Development Standards • What is our schema related to standards? • What have you heard and what do you know about the NMELD Standards?
NM English Language Development Standards • The NMELD Standards are unlike anything we have experienced in New Mexico. • They are first and foremost language standards. • Social and Instructional Language • The Language of Language Arts • The Language of Mathematics • The Language of Science • The Language of Social Studies • Meant to be flexible and adaptable.
NM English Language Development Standards English language development standards are the bridge to enable learners to access the content requisite for academic success through language (Academic Language and Thinking).
Let Me Throw Some Bricks and Mortar at You! • Framework • Formative • Summative • Language Proficiency Level • Entering • Emerging • Developing • Expanding • Bridging
Let Me Throw Some Bricks and Mortar at You! • Language Domain • Grade Level Cluster • Genre • Model Performance Indicator (MPI) • Language Function • Example Topic • Support • Transformation