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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2

Provide a language focus for each lesson

Once you have found out something about the students' conceptual understandings and their language abilities then you can tailor the learning outcomes and the language demands of the unit to their needs. In the acids and bases unit the language focus is on developing academic scientific talk and scientific writing.

The achievement objectives and the language and learning outcomes are explicitly written into the unit plan. This unit is about investigating acids and bases, applying the knowledge, and describing or explaining what has been found. Each lesson within the unit has language learning outcomes. The assessment activities link directly to the learning outcomes.

Write the content and language outcomes on the board:

Content learning outcome

Give examples of how acids and bases are used in the home.

Language learning outcome

Using academic scientific language especially the present passive tense verb to explain what bases are used for in the home.

Language structure

Bases are used in the home to neutralise acids. For example, toothpaste is a weak base that is used to neutralise acids formed by plaque bacteria on your teeth. Bases can also be used to dissolve grease and dirt.

Learning task 2
Teaching and learning activities Principles

Focus on the language

Step 1: Model the language (Word 25KB) and the concept. Bases are used in the home to neutralise acids. What is an example?

Step 2: Discuss the scientific language used in the model and the expected student oral response. (We use toothpaste to neutralise acids on our teeth.) Point out the changes in the language when scientists write:

  • The sentence becomes impersonal (toothpaste becomes the subject of the sentence instead of the personal we).
  • Toothpaste is defined using the simple present verb (toothpaste is a base).
  • The passive verb is used to explain what it is used for (is used to). Toothpaste is a base that is used to neutralise acids formed by plaque bacteria on teeth.

Be explicit about the way the language is used in speech and writing.

Step 3: Ask the students to give more examples of bases and their uses and discuss the language the students use and how appropriate it is in speech and writing.

Step 4: Students work in groups to write out more examples.

Principle 2

Published on: 19 Feb 2018