Active learning methodologies

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Published Date:17-07-2017
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Interactive Classroom Strategies & Structures for Success Focus on English Learners Francisca Sánchez© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Courageous Leadership n How do we negotiate the politics and the pedagogy? n What will it really take for us to school ALL students for success in the 21st century? What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? (Vincent Van Gogh) All too often, as educators we think of ourselves as neutral, as outside the political fray. But that is no longer one of our options. In fact, it has never been an option for us, for education lives in a political world, and nowhere is this more evident today than in our debates about how to school English Learners. In the past, we have not been successful in framing our discourse and debate on the core issue of what we mean by success for English Learners. Too often, in the past, our efforts have resulted in failure for English Learners. Today, as we negotiate the politics and the pedagogy, we have to be sure that at the end of the day, we come down on the side of pedagogy that results in expanded life opportunities for English Learners and not a pedagogy or practice that as well-meaning as it may be ends up limiting and circumscribing English Learners’ options and possibilities. An important first step on this road is to ask: What will it really take for us to school English Learners for sustainable success in the 21st century? We can start by acknowledging that there is tremendous good will and expertise in our schools and communities, and those two things provide us with an incredible foundation for building powerful programs for English Learners that DO get us the transformative results we want. We need to help each other think more clearly about how we can use the good intentions we have and the expertise and knowledge we’ve earned to make sure first, that we use the most powerful instructional strategies possible, and second, that those strategies are coherent and connected and working in concert with a strong systems change framework that gives us the leadership structures and tools we need to respond appropriately to any English Learner issue that comes up now or in the future. Our Leadership Role Our students are depending on us to use all of our capacity and will to provide guidance and support so schools and districts can cre- ate excellent educational environments that guarantee that English Learners succeed in and beyond school. Committing to this type of success means that we must: n Eliminate the persistent achievement and access gaps between students of color and majority students, between poor and affluent students, between English Learners and native English speakers. n Accelerate and sustain academic progress for all groups of students through grade 12 and beyond. n Ensure that every student attains high and meaningful standards across the curriculum and is university-ready. n Prepare every student as a successful 21st century citizen. 11 The Leadership Imperative In California, schools are failing students of color. As they form a larger and larger portion of the school This condition constitutes an arsenal of social ex- population, and threaten any real academic gains for plosives. . . the state as a whole, the success of California’s reform efforts depends on its ability to raise the achievement California faces no other public policy problem of of its EL students. Yet there is little evidence that the more pressing importance. leadership of the state either understands this urgency or (Guthrie & Kirst, 1984) is prepared to address it. English learners in California, and in the nation, represent a potentially rich social and economic resource—if the state invests in them. Without In American race relations, the bridge from the 20th such investment, the future of California education looks century may be leading back into the 19th. We may grim. be deciding to bet the future of the country once more on separate but equal. English Learners in California Schools: Unequal Resources, Unequal Outcomes Deepening Segregation in American Public Schools (Harvard University) believing we can We have to build and articulate a powerful vision that incorporates our beliefs about what is possible. And we cannot do it in the absence of the hopes and dreams of the students themselves. Bob Moses, in Radical Equations, says it this way: We believe in these young people, that they have the energy, the courage, the hope to devise means to change their condition. We believe the kind of systemic change necessary to prepare our young people for the demands of the 21st century requires young people to take the lead in changing it. We can set the stage for young people to play powerful roles in envisioning and creating powerful futures for themselves. One way to set that stage is to hold high expectations, not only for the students themselves, but for us and for our responsibility in achieving certain outcomes. 12 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Believing We Can Bilingualism is recognized by researchers as an educational advantage . . . But many schools are still not giving out positive messages about it. The result is that children and parents internalize the devalued status of their own language. Institute of Education, University of London Many teachers and administrators underestimate the ability and potential of English learners. It is critically important that we hold the same high expectations for English learners that we do for other bright and talented students. Patricia Gándara et al. English Learners in California Schools: Unequal Resources, Unequal Outcomes There are people in this country who think all kids can’t do mathematics, but we say that all kids can learn if math is presented in a good way — having a knowledgeable teacher and quality materials. Johnny Lott, President NCTM Our beliefs are powerful beyond measure in shaping the future we create What’s At Stake? The price of ignoring children’s bilingualism is educational failure and social exclusion. Dr. Charmian Kenner Institute of Education, University of London Schools should take steps to support children’s bilingualism, which is an economic asset for the nation. Dina Mehmedbegovic Institute of Education, University of London We are at risk of becoming a nation divided both economically and racially by knowledge of mathematics. A Nation at Risk 13 Our approach The ultimate aim of education is to enable individuals to become the architects of their own education and through that process to continually reinvent themselves . . . . In this sense, the curriculum is . . . . a mind-altering device. Elliot W. Eisner Values-Driven Principles-Based Informed by Data & Research Our work in English Learner education must be fundamentally different from most of what is happening in the nation in the name of educational excellence, and it calls for us to articulate a values-driven, principles-based educational model, informed by research and data. Policy should begin with values that are formed into a vision of how our schools should be, and our principles should articulate how our values get enacted. Data and research should inform the development of policy that guides action and plans to carry out the policy, but all policy decisions should reflect our values and our prin- ciples. This is important because where the leadership does not hold multilingualism as a value, there will be no systemic, sustainable multilingual education. Where the leadership doesn’t recognize the songs that our students carry within them, we will never be able to create the environments that will allow our students to sing at full volume. Unfortunately, for far too long, mainstream educators have not been able to successfully articulate a powerful vision of student success that puts multilingualism front and center. As a result, our children and youth, even those that are successful in the current system, are ill-prepared to participate in powerful ways in our global, 21st century society. In too many ways, their voices have been silenced. Yet, in the world of English Learner education, we are poised to adopt a new and very powerful vision of suc- cess that will guide our work on behalf of all students in our care. And this vision statement should be explicit in specifying what we value, and therefore, promise for our children and families. Any approach to improving schools for English Learners must begin with a vision of the student outcomes we expect schools to produce. We must articulate a definition of STUDENT SUCCESS and HIGH INTELLECTUAL PERFORMANCE that goes beyond just improvements on standardized tests. 14 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Our Vision Redefining Student Success When there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18 In addition to graduating our students college and career ready, English Learner education programs must en- sure our graduates develop the skills, capacities, and dispositions to be successful in the 21st century: Every English Learner who enrolls in our schools will graduate from high school prepared for the option of enrolling in a four-year college or university, pursuing a successful career, and living a healthy life. S/He will have the confidence, competence and information needed to make positive choices for her/his future, and will have demonstrated strength and competence in the areas needed for full st participation in the 21 century economic, scientific, political, cultural, and intellectual life of our nation and global society. In addition to academic competency, these areas include technological literacy; communication skills; aesthetic sensibility; critical and creative thinking, reasoning, and solution-seeking; social, environmental, and civic responsibility; multilingual and cross-cultural competency; and strength of character. As educational professionals, we should only call ourselves successful to the extent that we achieve these outcomes for every group of English Learners we serve. Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It’s too high Come to the edge And they came, and he pushed ...... and they flew. Christopher Logue 15 Committing to Success We can, whenever, and wherever we choose, success- fully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need in order to do this. Whether we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t done it so far. Ron Edmonds With my students I have learned another view of education, another approach to educating. I no longer practice a curriculum made for failure and poverty. Bill Terrazas Channel Islands High School Part of our responsibility with regard to English Learners is to advance a transformative approach to their schooling that by design builds bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism and that systemically uses English Learners’ languages, cultures, experiences, and skills as a foundation for their new learning and success. As educational leaders, we need to ensure that English Learners achieve and sustain high levels of proficiency, including literacy, in English and the home language; high levels of academic achievement, including proficiency on state standards across the curriculum and maintenance of that achievement in English after participation in specialized English Learner programs and through grade 12; sophisticated sociocultural and multicultural competency; preparation for successful transition to higher education; successful preparation as a 21st century global citizens; and high levels of motivation, confidence, and self-assurance. 16 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Framework for Success There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. Buckminster Fuller If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. Carl Sagan 18 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Framework for Success There is a Zulu saying: If the future doesn’t come toward you, you have to go fetch it. We cannot let our vision of success for students be determined by the status quo because the status quo has produced unacceptable results for many groups of students. Rather, we need to redefine school reform so that it works for our children. We need to hear the voices of our currently marginalized and alienated students and know that our job is about creating a world and a future where they, too, can be at the center. We need to be able to respond affirmatively and powerfully to the opportunity before us. In other words, we have to go fetch that future and make it our children’s present. One way to begin that process is to focus on the Framework for Success and its eight essential core principles. These eight essential core principles for programmatic reform lead to cohesive, coherent, and comprehensive educational programs where all students can excel in and beyond school walls. Local contexts, student populations, and capacity differ from school to school, and community to community, and effective approaches are created to address those specific needs. Through a principles-based reform effort, we can use a core of values and best practices, distilled from the research, and apply them locally in ways that make sense for specific communities. When we attend to all of these research-informed core principles, we provide the necessary conditions for success for English Learners, and we allow our English Learner programs to operate at peak performance. Furthermore, we increase the likelihood that our schools and districts can sustain these higher levels of performance over the long term. 19 Framework for Success Rich & Affirming Learning Environments Create a safe, affirming, and enriched environment for participatory and inclusive learning. First, and at the heart of all this, our programmatic reforms must include changes in the sociocultural context of schooling for students. Students must experience safe, nonthreatening, and affirming learning environments where it is the norm for them to: n Interact, collaborate, communicate, and negotiate meaning with their peers. n Experience education that is gifted and talented rather than remedial. n Utilize and fully develop their languages and cultures. n Speak their truths and have their voices heard and reflected in the whole of the school community. n Share equitably in the allocation of power and resources. Empowering Pedagogy Use culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy that maximizes learning, actively accesses and develops student voice, and provides opportunities for leadership. Second, programmatic reforms must include changes in how we teach students, in the pedagogy we employ. Stu- dents must have access to culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy that is focused on their experiences, interests, and needs to know and that is designed to maximize learning. That means providing complex, hands-on learning experiences in low threat/high challenge contexts, as well as opportunities for active processing. Students need access to a pedagogy that helps them link new knowledge with prior knowledge and that provides them with opportunities to bring their lives into the classroom and to examine issues of social justice which have daily impact on their families and their communities. In classrooms that are responsive to all students, there is a dynamic student/teacher collaboration around generating the inquiry that forms the basis of diverse students’ new learnings and that stimulates dialogue and reflection, as well. Challenging & Relevant Curriculum Engage English Learners in well-articulated and age-appropriate curriculum that purposefully builds bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism. This curriculum is cognitively complex, coherent, relevant, and challenging. Third, programmatic reforms must include changes in the curriculum that students experience. Students must have access to cognitively complex, coherent, well-articulated curriculum that by design builds bilingualism and biliteracy. This curriculum must not only be standards-based and aligned, it must also be rigorous, meaningful, purposeful, interesting, and rich. It must be both student-centered and student-friendly. It must be multicultural and antiracist. And it must provide for authentic, ongoing, and embedded reflection and assessment. 20 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Framework for Success High Quality Instructional Resources Provide and utilize high quality standards-aligned instructional resources that provide equitable access for English Learners to core curriculum and academic language in the classroom, school, and community. Fourth, programmatic reforms must include changes in the instructional resources available to and used by stu- dents and their teachers. Students must also have equitable access to a broad range of high quality instructional resources in English and in their home languages. These resources must include electronic, digital, and technological resources as well as other traditional materials. They must not only be aligned to standards, they must facilitate students’ access to the core curriculum and expand their knowledge of the world. They must provide authentic models of the vast array of academic language uses. And they must expand parents’ ability to communicate with teachers, to actively engage in their children’s schooling, and to participate meaningfully in decision making. Valid & Comprehensive Assessment Build and implement valid and comprehensive assessment systems designed to promote reflective practice and data-driven planning in order to improve academic, linguistic, and sociocultural outcomes for English Learners. Fifth, we need sophisticated and comprehensive assessment systems designed primarily to improve academic, linguistic, and sociocultural outcomes for all groups of students. These assessment systems should include multiple measures and approaches, be ongoing, include teacher observations and judgments, and provide clear analyses of actual student work and performance. Assessment should help schools and communities know to a certainty how every student is doing. There must be structures available for classroom teachers to observe and assess students’ progress on a daily basis and then apply the results of those assessments to their teaching. There must be reasonable benchmarks that allow teachers and students themselves to know how close they are to meeting the identified goals and standards. There must be ways of triangulating data so that judgments about student achievement and progress are not dependent on any single indicator. High Quality Professional Preparation & Support Provide coherent, comprehensive and ongoing professional preparation and support programs based on well-defined standards of practice. These programs are designed to create professional learning communities of administrators, teachers, and other staff to implement our vision of excellent teaching for English Learners. Sixth, programmatic reform must include changes in the systems that can most powerfully support the successful schooling of diverse students. One such system is that which supports the professional efficacy of teachers and others who work with diverse students. Without a doubt, teacher quality and preparation matter. Neither is there any doubt that students of color, poor students, and English Learners are much more likely to be assigned novice or underprepared teachers. 21 Framework for Success So in order for reforms to truly impact student achievement, teachers who work with diverse students must have a common, clear vision and well-defined standards of practice that help them close the achievement/access gaps, accelerate and sustain student achievement, and increase student college-going rates. Teachers working with diverse students need to be knowledgeable about subject matter content, child and adolescent development, cognitive development, culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy, and the specific cultures and language of their students, as well. Additionally, professional development programs must advocate for recruitment, development, and retention of qualified minority educators. Finally, professional development programs must include everyone who has responsibility for working with students: tutors, volunteers, parents, teachers, counselors and other support staff, principals and other administrators. We have to build a sense of professional accountability among all the adults involved in educating our students. Powerful Family/Community Engagement Implement strong family and community engagement programs that build leadership capacity and value and draw upon community funds of knowledge to inform, support, and enhance teaching and learning for English Learners. Another system that can support the successful schooling of students in powerful ways is family and community engagement. We know that when families, educators, and communities all work together, schools get better, and students have a better chance of getting the high quality education they need and deserve. Strong family and community engagement programs help families establish home environments that support learning for their children and provide information and ideas to families about how to help their children with homework as well as other curriculum-related activities. They work toward establishing more effective forms of school to home and home to school communications about school programs, student progress, and family and community resources and help recruit and organize family/community help and support in the school. But most importantly of all, strong family and community engagement programs include parents in school decisions and actively promote the development of parent/community leaders and representatives who can advocate more effectively for marginalized students. They create structures to identify and integrate community resources and services to strengthen programs and practices for these students. 22 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Framework for Success Advocacy-Oriented Administrative/Leadership Systems Provide advocacy-oriented administration and leadership that institute system-wide mechanisms to focus all stakeholders on the diverse needs and assets of English Learners. These administrative and leadership systems structure, organize, coordinate, and integrate programs and services to respond systemically to English Learner needs. Finally, programmatic reforms must include changes in district and school administrative and leadership systems so that issues of data, communication, accountability, and equity are addressed, and programs and services for students are effectively coordinated and administered. With regard to data, there must be student information systems established that allow teachers and administrators to recognize classroom, school, and district patterns of achievement. These systems should be sufficiently sophisticated to allow for disaggregation of student and teacher data across a broad array of student, teacher, and school demographic, background, and programmatic variables. Only when we can accurately and consistently assess the real data picture in our schools will we be able to accurately and comprehensively determine the needed changes. Multiple-way communication protocols should ensure that administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community regularly receive and provide communication regarding the schooling of students. Administrative systems must also establish accountability parameters and processes that guarantee student results. These ac- countability measures must be responsive to equity concerns. When administrative systems are firmly grounded in an equity perspective or framework that requires that everyone work from an advocacy perspective, it is much more likely that equity issues will be successfully addressed. Intelligence We believe that intelligence is not fixed; rather it is modifiable. We define intelligence as a behavior that elic- its active processes or operations enabling an individual to accommodate him/herself to a particular situ- ation to assimilate particular information (Feuerstein, 1982; Ginsburg, 1972; Piaget, 1965; Sternberg, 1981). Intelligence is also the act of processing information in a way that enables an individual to solve problems and create products or strategies to successfully function in a particular situation (Feuerstein, 1982; Gardner, 2000; Caine & Caine, 1994). The processing involved in intelligence is the result of learning (Jackson, 2001). 23 A Pedagogy of confidence The National Urban Alliance promotes what it calls a Pedagogy of Confidence, which is quite relevant to our work with English Learners. They define a Pedagogy of Confidence as the fearless expectation and support for all students to demonstrate high intellectual performance. It involves the art of using the science of learning to create practices that nurture this high intellectual performance. They refer to these practices as high operational practices. Together, high intellectual performance, achieved through the consistent and coherent use of high intellectual practices, becomes HIP HOP. They use the formula L: (U + M) (C1 + C2) to express that LEARNING results when we are successful in helping students to combine UNDERSTANDING and MOTIVATION with CONFIDENCE and COMPETENCE. The essential practices of the Pedagogy of Confidence are: n Identifying and building on student strengths. n Establishing powerful relationships that nurture success. n Eliciting high intellectual performance. n Engaging students actively in the learning process. n Creating environments of enrichment rather than remediation. n Situating learning in the lives of students. n Addressing the prerequisites for learning. In the Pedagogy of Confidence, one of the teacher’s essential roles is to mediate learning for students. In mediated learning experiences, the teacher/mediator, guided by intention, culture, and emotional investment, organizes experiences by framing and filtering, and determining which are relevant and irrelevant experiences. Mediated learning requires the development of relationships between teacher and student and student and student in order to create dynamic, interactive bonding. The teacher/mediator elicits personal motivation for learning, that is, engagement, from students so that they are able to deeply address the critical tasks/content. Culturally & Linguistically responsive teaching Culturally and linguistically responsive teaching identifies students cultural and linguistic assets and creates learning opportunities that incorporate and build on those assets. It is an approach to situating learning in students’ lives. It can be described as: n Validating n Comprehensive n Multidimensional n Empowering n Transformative n Emancipatory 24 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 mediated learning According to Reuven Feuerstein, mediated learning is defined as a quality of human-environment interaction that results from changes introduced in this interaction by a human mediator who interposes him/herself between the student and the stimuli. There are three universal paramenters of mediated learning that are present in all cultures: n Intentionality/Reciprocity: The teacher’s ability to help students focus on a task or object by controlling the intensity, frequency, and modality of the learning experience. The mediator holds high expectations for an engaged response from the student. n Meaning: The teacher’s ability to provide an energetic, dynamic source of power that will ensure the student engages in the learning task. Values and beliefs are integrated into the teaching and learning experience. n Transcendence: The teacher’s ability to bridge principles from one learning experience to another. The concepts transcend time and place. From Jennie Zehr The PURPOSE of mediated learning is to fully engage students’ cognitive functions and to modify their cognition so that students function/perform at the highest possible intellectual level. As identified by Feuerstein, cognitive functions, or thinking actions, fall into three categories: input 1. Focusing and Perceiving 6. Conserving Constancies The more data that go in via our senses, the Decide what characteristics stay the same even more information we have to use. when changes happen. What attributes must re- main the same for an object to retain its identity? 2. Systematically Searching Systematically approach new objects or informa- 7. Collecting Precise and Accurate Data tion. The right stuff to get to the right answer. 3. Labeling 8. Using More Than One Source of Without a name for something, we can’t think Information about it. Keeping two ideas in the mind at the same time; assists in comparing and higher order thinking. 4. Knowing Where You Are in Space Right, left, front, back are critical concepts. 5. Being Aware of Time How much, how old, how often, sequence of events. 25 mediated learning ELABORATION 1. Defining the Problem 6. Providing Logical Evidence What am I to do? Problem, what problem? Does it make sense? 2. Searching for Relevant Cues 7. Using Hypothetical Thinking What is relevant to the problem? If this is true, then what else must be true? 3. Comparing 8. Testing the Hypothesis Critical to all higher order thinking skills. How can I see if this is true? 4. Visualizing 9. Making a Plan - Think Forward Having a good picture in our mind of what we’re State the steps and the reasons. looking for or what we are to do. Abstract think- ing. Overcoming an episodic grasp of reality. 10. Forming Relationships Having a broad mental field, memory. Making connections. 5. Summing Up: Seeing the Big Picture 11. Analyzing & Integrating What is the main idea? How many things are Structural or procedural analysis; putting parts involved? Organizing data. Including categoriza- together to make a whole. tion. output 1. Considering Another Person’s Point of 5. Using Precision and Accuracy Do it right; take your time; say it or complete it View with accuracy. The mind version of experiencing orientation in space physically. 6. Visual Transporting Copy accurately from the board or other source. 2. Projecting Virtual Relationships Can see things that aren’t there; four dots can be a square; two women can be cousins. 7. Showing Self-Control I think before I speak or act; controlling impulsiv- ity; overcoming trial and error responses. 3. Sticking to It. Perseverance Don’t ever, ever give up. Overcoming blocking. Definitions and format by Jeannie Zehr 4. Giving a Thoughtful Response Revision by J. Kinard, 2004 Have I really thought through this answer? Can I communicate it clearly? 26 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 How We Learn We know quite a bit about how learning happens, and this gives us some very good indications about how we need to structure the life of our classrooms and schools. n Learning happens when the brain makes connections among experiences that engage students. n The brain naturally constructs meaning when it perceives relationships (Caine & Caine, 1994), and those relevant or meaningful connections motivate the brain to be engaged and focused (Jackson, 2001). n Learning is conscious knowledge gained through teaching, though not necessarily from an official teacher. It involves attaining, along with the matter being taught, some degree of meta-knowledge about the matter (Gee, 1991). n Knowledge is actively constructed by the learners on a base of prior knowledge, attitudes, and values which are shaped by personal experience and the social and cultural environment. n Learners need to create patterns, schema, strategies, and rules that increase their control over the environment. n Learners identify and construct guidelines by experimenting, examining models, reflecting, and deciding on functional patterns that fulfill their personal needs. n Learning is a social process in which students grow into the intellectual life of those around them. n All students benefit from a focus on high intellectual performance. n Learning is influenced by the interaction of culture, language, and cognition. Student-Centered Practices How Students Can Create Meaning from Curriculum Content We also know quite a bit about how English Learners can create meaning from the content of our academic curriculum. If we want our English Learners to be meaningfully engaged in academic learning, then we need to structure our schools, classrooms, and curriculum so that English Learners consistently and systematically do the following: n Engage in a variety of active experiences alone, with peers, and with adults which focus attention and challenge their thinking. n Put their thoughts into words both orally and in writing in order to organize and to clarify their thinking and confront their incomplete understanding. n Use tangible, real-life experiences and primary source materials which connect to their everyday lives. n Create real, authentic products to exhibit conceptual understanding of the whole by using and incorporating the parts. n Use methods, processes, and vocabularies intrinsic to specific content areas. n Put together complex concepts and applying skills across subject matter boundaries to comprehend content. n Weigh personal and/or group values and norms against the ethical implications of what they are learning. From California School Leadership Academy 27 Development of Academic Expertise Trhecae /STduen T In Trcae TIno James Cummins, 2001 n Maximize cognitive engagement n Maximize identity development & investment Fouc S no Mnae Ign Focu S no u Se n Making input comprehensible u SIgn Leagnagu To n Developing critical literacy n Generate new knowledge n Create literature and art n Act on social realities Fouc S no Luaangge n Awareness of language forms and uses n Critical analysis of language forms and uses James Cummins adds to our understanding of what learners specifically need in order to develop academic expertise. At the center, he says, there must be teacher/student interactions that are characterized by two equally critical features: maximum cognitive engagement, and maximum student identity investment. In other words, this is an extremely PERSONAL enterprise, and students must know that who they are matters hugely and is supported significantly by their teachers and other students. If we accept this proposition, then, the curricula and pedagogy must focus English Learners in three ways: n First, there must be a focus on meaning; that is, making academic input comprehensible and developing critical literacy in both content and in language. n Second, there must be a focus on language, which helps students develop an awareness of language forms and uses and engages them in critical analyses of those forms and uses, including the academic language of the different disciplines. n And finally, there must be a focus on using language to generate new knowledge, create literature and art, and act on social realities. 28 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010© Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010 Conditions for Success In many ways, what we know about learning in general reflects back to us what we know about learning language specifically. If we think back to Brian Cambourne’s conditions for successful language learning, we see that there are many parallels and points of commonality. In Language, Literacy, and Learning, Cambourne tells us that there are seven such conditions. n Immersion n Demonstration n Expectations n Responsibility n Approximation n Employment n Feedback First, students must be immersed in an environment where proficient users of the language and culture bathe them in the sounds, meanings, cadences, and rhythms of the target language. This language is meaningful, purposeful, and whole. Second, students must receive thousands of demonstrations (models, examples) of the target language being used in functional and meaningful ways. Through this kind of continual demonstration of the conventions of the language and its meanings, students are given the data that enable them to adopt the conventions they need to use in order to be a proficient user of the target language/culture. Third, those (teachers, parents, other students) who interact with students must expect students to learn the target language/culture. In this way, they communicate to students that they will be successful language learners, even though it may be a difficult and complicated process. Fourth, students must be allowed to take responsibility for what they learn about the target language. They are allowed to decide which sets of conventions to master when. Although they master different grammatical structures at different times, students reach similar stages of language “know-how” by certain times. They reach the same language destination by different routes. If teachers try to take this responsibility away, by deciding to “teach” certain conventions at preset times, for example, then students will not learn the language proficiently. Fifth, students should not be expected to display full-blown native speaker adult competence from the beginning. Teachers reward students not just for being “right” but also for being “close.” This applies to written as well as oral language. Sixth, students must be provided with plenty of opportunity to use the target language. They are not restricted to set times to employ the conventions of language, nor are they prevented from practicing those conventions at other times. And last, students must be provided with very specific feedback that acknowledges receipt of their intended message with the conventional, adult, expanded form given back in a non-threatening, meaning-centered way. Students are not expected to produce the conventional adult form the very next time they use it. Adapted from Brian Cambourne 29 Development of Critical Social Skills In addition to language, content, and process skills, English Learners also need access to an array of social skills that are important to acquiring high levels of language and academic competency. Social skills are learned, and as such, they are culturally-based, so learning these social skills becomes part of English Learners’ development of their cultural competency, as well. According to Karen Ostlund (1992), social skills can be grouped into three types: n Cluster Skills These are behaviors that involve a student’s ability to move into a learning group efficiently and effectively, with minimum disruption and distraction, and get started on the task at hand. n Camaraderie Skills These are skills that help learners build confidence, assurance, and esteem, both about themselves and about each other as they work together. These skills help build a sense of belonging and “groupness”, and support stable operation of the group. n Task Skills These are behaviors that have to do with the tasks required to manage the learning. They can range from the skills required for task mastery to those that use critical thinking and other higher order thinking skills to construct deeper levels of conceptual understanding. 30 © Francisca Sánchez, Revised 2010

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