English learners are most successful in developing fluency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking when language and literacy skills are taught explicitly within the context of content concepts. (Gibbons, 2002). Interacting with grade-level content concepts provide learners with authentic and meaningful opportunities to develop language skills and literacy, but teachers often need sustained professional development on research-based practices in order to successfully provide content-based language instruction to learners at different proficiency levels.
The purpose of this presentation is to provide examples of instructional strategies that help teachers develop the language and literacy skills of English learners within the context of content classes. Participants will see how the activities can be applied at the primary and secondary levels, the research behind the activities, and how they are effective teaching tools.
The use of these instructional strategies is based on research on English learner instruction and on CAL’s extensive experience working with English learners and their teachers. The activities and the principles behind them were developed for English learners in the context of the American educational system and they can be adapted for other cultural and linguistic contexts, including for foreign language learners, students of bilingual education, and second language learners in countries with a dominant school language. Participants will leave the presentation with instructional ideas to apply to their own contexts.