Background information / Science / Mathematics

In 2006 the Ministry of Education produced the first of three DVDs for teacher professional development: *Making Language and Learning Work 1: Integrating language and learning in secondary Maths and Science*. The DVD and the accompanying facilitation notes are available for schools in the 2007 school year. During 2007 a second DVD will be developed for secondary teachers, and in 2008 a third with a primary focus.

The series of DVDs will provide annotated examples of effective teacher practice showing integrated language and curriculum content area teaching and learning for students from diverse language backgrounds. Such materials are available overseas but this is the first comprehensive series of New Zealand materials.

The materials support teachers to meet recommendations in a number of documents which provide guidelines for teaching students from diverse language backgrounds in mainstream classes:

*Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis*(Alton-Lee, 2003)*Improving English Language Outcomes for Students Receiving ESOL Services in New Zealand Schools with a Particular Focus on New Immigrants*(Franken and McComish, 2003)

The materials also exemplify the application of the *English Language Intensive Programme Years 7 to 13* (Ministry of Education, 2003) and *Effective Literacy Strategies In Years 9 to 13* (Ministry of Education, 2004) in relation to students who are learning English as an additional language.

The materials show examples of effective practice in planning and delivering models of curriculum area units of work that integrate English language learning with learning in content areas in mainstream subject classes. They enable teachers to understand how to integrate effective literacy strategies into their teaching and learning programmes, and to observe how a range of teachers in different subject areas scaffold language and content area learning. The materials model how to personalise learning by supporting students at different levels of English proficiency in a manageable way in mainstream classes.

**Note:**

The DVDs feature teachers and students in mainstream secondary and primary classes of diverse learners. In some instances filming was done after school hours. In these instances all students in all classes were invited to participate, but not every student in every class did so.

This set of notes is the first in a series to support on-going Science and Mathematics department or faculty based professional learning. Additional support material can be accessed from links on the homepage of ESOL Online and the science and maths online communities.

We suggest you initially approach the DVD by zooming in on the three small snapshots described here in a focussed faculty meeting. We are suggesting that you return at future meeting during the rest of the year to look at other aspects of the DVD using the next sets of facilitation notes which will be sent out once a term over the rest of the year. Each snapshot is linked to a principle of effective teaching for learners from diverse language and cultural backgrounds.

- Know the learner:
*finding out the learner's prior knowledge; using approaches that build on prior knowledge* - Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners:
*making the lesson comprehensible to learners through differentiation - ensuring that key concepts can be understood through scaffolding teaching* - Make the abstract concrete: linking learning to real life -
*providing contexts for learning*

The snapshots focus on teachers integrating content and language and learning for students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Note that this resource is composed of a number of these snapshots selected from a teaching sequence, but these are not shown in the order in which they were taught.

Each snapshot has the following foci: As you look at each one, think about the focus, and the analysis questions.

- What the teacher is doing.
- What the students are doing.
- Language and content focus.

Each snapshot has:

- questions to consider while watching the DVD section;
- where appropriate, an alternative strategy-based observation format;
- links to additional information on ESOL Online.

**Remember**: whenever you choose an approach or select a teaching/learning strategy, you should

- be clear about your purpose for using it;
- explain to the students why they are using that strategy and what/how it will help them learn.

Learning is *much* more likely to be retained and transferred to new situations when this happens.

**Two Strands**: Finding out the learner's prior knowledge *and* using approaches that build on prior knowledge

**Questions to use when watching the sequence**

**Strand 1**: Finding out the learner's prior knowledge

**Teacher**

How does the teacher find out about the students' prior knowledge? What strategy does she use in this case and how does it work?

Learning grid

**Students**

What does the student say about the helpfulness of this strategy? Do the students work individually, in pairs or groups (level of interaction)

**Language and content lesson focus**

What are the language and content points? How are these communicated to the students?

**Strand 2**: Using approaches that build on prior knowledge

**Teacher**

What approach does the teacher use to build prior knowledge and why?

**Student**

What does the students say about the use of this strategy?

Anticipatory Guide

**Reflections:** What else?

What strategies do you use to find out about your learner's prior knowledge or to build on prior knowledge?

How would you provide extra support to new learners of English - in this case with using scientific language to write a paragraph about genes?

Suggestions for What else?

Other Strategies Online to use when finding out about and building prior knowledge.

Strategies to use prior to watching

Tick the boxes | Before watching DVD | After watching DVD |

I can name strategies that would help me to find out what my students know about a topic before teaching it. | ||

I can name strategies that would help me to build on my students' prior knowledge. | ||

I know strategies to make clear the learning outcomes for each lesson/unit of work. | ||

I know how to teach my students to use scientific words when writing an explanation. | Note that answers to the last 3 statements are not shown in this snapshot | |

I know how to teach my students how to structure a written scientific explanation. | ||

I know how to provide extra language support to my new learners of English. |

**Strand**: Making the lesson comprehensible to learners

**Questions to use when watching the sequence**

**Teacher**

What strategy does the teacher use?

Concept map

**Students**

What does the student say about comprehensible teacher talk?

What is the level of interaction?

What do the students think of the strategy?

**Language and content learning outcomes**

What are they?

**Reflections**: What else?

What approaches and strategies do you use to make lessons comprehensible to students?

How do you provide materials at different levels of language and content?

Other Strategies Online that help make learning comprehensible:

- Discussing Features of Text Forms
- Shared Reading
- Co-operative Reading/Reciprocal Teaching
- Jigsaw Reading
- Anticipatory Reading Guides
- Structured Overview

Strategies to use prior to watching

Ask the teachers to sort these words into a concept map - and add words of their own:

*comprehensible, concept map, language learning outcomes, content learning outcomes, structured overview, level of interaction, anticipatory reading guide, shared reading, Vygotsky, scaffolding learning, instructional conversations, language input, language output, integrate*.

Then use the questions above.

**Strand**: Linking learning to real life

**Questions to use when watching the sequence**

**Teacher**

How does the teacher make links to the students' experiences and interests? Why does he think this is important?

**Students**

What do the students think of the approach taken to link learning to the students' knowledge and experiences? Do the students work individually, in pairs or groups (what's the level of interaction)?

**Language and content focus**

What are the language and content points? Are these communicated in this section? How engaged are the students?

**Reflections**: What else?

How do or could you make the abstract concrete at the beginning of a new topic?

Use the experiential learning approach, use manipulative materials.

Other Strategies Online to use in designing units linking learning to real life:

- Picture Dictation
- Say It!
- Clarifying Unfamiliar Words
- Clines
- Collocation
- Structured Overviews
- Anticipatory Reading Guides
- Three Level Reading Guides

Ask your ESOL teacher about the science texts at different levels in the English Language Intensive Programme (ELIP).

The Language of Science (Specialised language)

Supplementary to the ARB resource:

Possible problem areas with language commonly used in Science:

- Words that have both general and scientific meanings (e.g. table, solution, bases, wastes).
- Ellipsis (words missing but implied) in sentences (e.g. Acids are very common substances [that are] used widely in everyday life.)
- Modal verbs. For example, there is a significant difference between: If
*x*occurs*, y will*result; If*x*occurs,*y could*result. - Conditional verbs.
*If*they are watered the plants*will*grow;*if*they are watered the plants*should/may/could*grow.

Wellington, J., & Osborne, J. (2001). *Language and literacy in science education.* Philadelphia: Open University.

Search out your departmental copy of a useful longstanding Ministry of Education resource *Language and Learning in Secondary Science* (Fran Edwards and Sylvia Hill)

Ensure that you have read the Introduction to these notes before using this section.

**Strand**: Using approaches that build on prior knowledge

Note: These are snapshots of class interactions.**Questions to use when watching the sequence**

**Teacher**

From what context might he have drawn the data he asks the students to describe?

How does he prepare the students for language and content in this lesson?

What strategy does he use? Why?

What other information would he have given to the students in addition to the statement 'I've written some numbers'

**Students**

Do the students work individually, in pairs or groups? What is the effect of the choice? (What is the level of interaction)?

**Language and content focus**

What are the language and content points? How are these communicated to the students?

How does the teacher use context to build mathematics content and language learning for all students?

How does the teacher help students notice the word "median"?

**Reflections**: What else?

What strategies do you use to build your learner's prior knowledge?

Strategies Online to use when finding out about and building prior knowledge:

- Anticipatory Reading Guides
- Graphic Organisers
- KWL
- Preview/Simplified Text Summary
- Structured Overviews
- Word Maps
- Before and After Vocabulary Grids
- Activating Prior Knowledge

Build on prior knowledge

Work by yourselves, writing what you do to build on prior knowledge for learners in your classes.

Share your ideas with a friend and then in the group.

Think, Pair, Share

Then use the questions above.

Year 10 Mathematics (making the lesson comprehensible to learners)

**Strand**: Making the lesson comprehensible to learners through differentiation - using different levels of scaffolding**Questions to use when watching the sequence**

**Teacher**

What strategy does the teacher use? Why?

**Students**

What do the students say about the benefits of using the student's first language (L1)?

**Language and content learning focus points**

What are they?

**Reflections**: What else?

What ways have you been able or could you use to incorporate the use of L1 in the classroom?

**Strand**: Making the lesson comprehensible to learners - providing links to real life, experiential learning**Questions to use when watching the sequence**

**Teacher**

How does the teacher make the learning link to the students' experiences and interests? Why does he do this? How does the teacher encourage academic and content talk?

**Students**

Do the students work individually, in pairs or groups (level of interaction)? What task do the students carry out? Do the activities integrate all the skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing)?

**Language and content learning outcome**

What are these? How are they conveyed?

Note the use of modals (for example, 'could') in the discussion. Modals are verbs that show degrees of certainty or probability

**Resources: The language of Maths**

**Possible problem areas with language commonly used in Maths:**

- Words that have both general and mathematical meanings (e.g. table, power, problem, area, operation, odd, even, parentheses);
- Difficult grammar such as articles, prepositions, phrasal verbs, gerunds, infinitives, conditionals, modals, passive voice complex sentences. For example, if x is multiplied by y then z could...
- Phrase and sentence structures such as greater than/less than, as...as, n times as much as.
- Word problems in general.

**Mathematics sites**

- NRICH - Mathematics Enrichment Recommended UK site for teachers and students of mathematics.
- Math in Daily Life Explores how math can help in daily life. In this exhibit you'll look at the language of numbers through common situations, such as playing games or cooking.

Check your department shelves for a longstanding useful Ministry of Education resource: *Language and Learning in Secondary Maths* (Fran Edwards and Sylvia Hill).

Published on: 17 Jun 2009

Segments from this DVD are available to view online.