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Language skills or content?

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Joined: 26 Oct 2011
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Language skills or content? Reply with quote

When planning lessons for a pull-out format, do you find it better to focus on language skills or the content of area subjects? I know a lot of factors affect this decision. Obviously, once accustomed to a school's curriculum, you become familiar with the units, and what vocabulary is involved. What about more difficult concepts where a lack of basic language skills is the barrier for a bright student? I would be interested in dovetailing this content into my lessons, but without input from mainstream teachers it can be difficult.
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Joined: 06 May 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is hard for me to step out of my role as a pull-out reading teacher into pull-out esl teacher. Most of my experience teaching ESL has been through a structured program where only language and cultural lessons were to be taught. However, one thing that our professor mentioned has stuck with me...much of what students need is vocabulary of the main content. I think sometimes through teaching the vocabulary, you are also teaching the content (since in order to teach defintions, you must also provide context, examples and practice.) However, one thing I run into that I'd likely also run into as an ESL teacher is that there is so much to teach! How will we decide? There could be a thousand language objectives within one content lesson. When I get overwhelmed I go back to the standards; what does this age group need to know according to the state or national standards at their current level. Above all, are the students engaging in listening, writing, speaking and reading activities to help them grow.
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Joined: 31 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Language skills and contents Reply with quote

As ESL teachers, it is important that we teach both the content and language skills--including the four language domains (listening, speaking, writing, and reading). We want to teacher the core contents so that the ELLs, whom we pull out, are not behind in other subject areas. Also, Douglas Brown from Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy stated that written and spoken language often bear a relationship to each other; to ignore that relationship of written and spoken language is an intrinsically motivating reflection of language and culture and society. Brown also claimed that, "Often one skill will reinforce another; we learn to speak, for example, in part by modeling what we hear, and we learn to write by examining what we can read. All in all, we must integrate the four language skills into our content lesson plans so that our students are not going to be falling behind in content.[/i]
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