Center for Applied Linguistics
This five-minute video with companion professional development activities is designed to serve as a professional development tool to help increase awareness of the needs of beginner English learners in the content classroom.
Comprehensible input refers to speech or text that is adapted to be more easily understood by language learners, providing scaffolds so that learners can understand and also develop their language skills. Techniques and strategies to achieve comprehensible input, such as visuals, gestures, or bolded text, are particularly important when language learners study content through their new language, because they have to learn two things simultaneously: academic English and subject matter concepts. It is also one of the eight components of the widely-used SIOP Model of sheltered instruction, a lesson design and delivery model that aims to make content concepts more comprehensible for English learners as they simultaneously develop their academic English skills.
About the Video Clips
The video includes short clips of two versions of the same lesson in Mandarin Chinese to illustrate the difference in instruction when educators use comprehensible input. The versions are intended to be shown consecutively to teachers in a workshop style with time for interactive activities after each video clip version.
- The first video clip shows a teacher delivering a lesson without comprehensible input or without any techniques that would enable a beginner Mandarin Chinese speaker to comprehend the lesson content. Included on the DVD is a follow-up activity consisting of a sorting task using Mandarin Chinese words. Without any clues to make content comprehensible, participants learn that they have difficulty with this task, even working in groups.
- The second video clip shows the teacher delivering the same lesson using techniques to make the lesson more comprehensible to beginning Mandarin Chinese learners, including visuals, gestures, realia, connections to background knowledge, and repetition. Included on the DVD is a follow-up activity that demonstrates how participants have more success with the follow-up task with this boost to comprehension.
About the Activity Resources
The companion professional development activity resources provided on the DVD are designed to complement the video clips and to engage participants through a sorting task related to the content of the video, a “quiz” related to the literacy embedded in the clips, and a reflection sheet to consider instructional implications.