CONTENT AREA INSTRUCTION
How do English learners access the regular core curriculum which is provided for all students (math, social science, science, electives, P.E.)?
English learners need to work toward meeting the same content area standards as the English-only students. Classroom teachers evaluate each student’s prior content knowledge and language proficiency to determine the most appropriate instruction for the student. At some middle and high schools, content area classes are provided which are specifically designed for Beginning and Early Intermediate level students who have very limited English proficiency and/or limited prior schooling.
What is sheltered instruction (also known as SDAIE, or Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English)?
Sheltered Instruction (or SDAIE) is a method of teaching that incorporates strategies to make information understandable to English learners. Some typical strategies are:
- connecting new information to past experiences
- demonstrating how to do something
- use of visuals or information organizers
- sharing the teacher’s mental processing of information
- textbook reading support, such as audio CD’s, Buddy Reading, read-alouds, etc.
- partner or group work
- opportunities for oral discussions and presentations
Of course, these strategies are also appropriate for non-English learners and provide the support that will help many students be more successful in all of their classes. However, one difference between sheltered instruction and “just good teaching” is that English learners also need a focus on explicit language development in conjunction with content area instruction.