The reflective journal writing provides students with a theoretically sound pragmatic format for process thinking and critical reflection on professional practice and professional development. Reflective journal writing is a part of an ongoing process of capacity building for critical reflection on practice in the field of TESOL as well as on one’s own socialization. The reflective journal exercise has a specific sequence that student should follow. Below are the requirements for the reflective journal. (Herrera, 2007) To provide students with a framework to make connections between prior knowledge and new information. The framework engages students in a systematic process to guide their ongoing reflection, a process they can internalize and practice as constructive educators. Students will be able to engage in this process to improve their teaching throughout their careers. The following are some ways reflective practice has been described in the literature over the past two decades. Reflective practice is: A dialogue of thinking and doing through which one becomes more skilled (Schon, 1987) A process that helps teachers think about what happened, why it happened, and what else could have been done to reach their goals (Cruickshank & Applegate, 1981) An inquiry approach that involves a personal commitment to continuous learning and improvement (YorkBarr, Sommers,Ghere, & Montie, 2001) The practice of analyzing one’s actions, decisions, or products by focusing on one’s process for achieving them (Killion &Todnem, 1991) A critical, questioning orientation and a deep commitment to the discovery and analysis of information concerning the quality of a professional’s designed action (Bright, 1996). A willingness to accept responsibility for one’s professional practice (Ross, 1990) A systematic and comprehensive data gathering process enriched by dialogue and collaborative effort (Osterman & Kottkamp, 2004) The use of higher level thinking, such as critical inquiry and metacognition, which allow one to move beyond a focus on isolated facts or data to perceive a broader context for understanding behavior and events (Hatton & Smith, 1995).
Touro TESOL Teacher Candidate Christine Romonoyske graduated from St. Joseph’s College with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. She is a NY State Certified Teacher working towards her Master’s Degree in TESOL. Christine shared that “I am excited to use the new strategies and methods I learned in my future teaching!”
1. Description of Highlight(s) – chapter, article or event that pertains to the course.
Content-Based Instruction (CBI) is an approach in language teaching to provide instruction to English language learners based on content and language that the students will acquire. One model of Content-Based Instruction I want to focus on is Sheltered Instruction, also known as the SIOP model. The SIOP model includes eight components: lesson preparation, building background, comprehensible input, strategies, interaction, practice and application, lesson delivery, review and assessment. The articles Using Sheltered Instruction to Support English Learners by Amy Markos and Jennifer Himmel and the article Using the SIOP Model for Effective Content Teaching with Second and Foreign Language Learners by Veronika Kareva and Jana Echevarria both analyze the application and suggests the different strategies to be used in sheltered instruction in content areas including math, science, social studies, and language arts. The goal of sheltered instruction is to acquire the English proficiency and content area knowledge needed to transition successfully into mainstream instruction. Sheltered instruction will provide access to the core curriculum by teaching in a way that is meaningful and understandable for second language learners. Sheltered instruction will allow the students to learn the target language as they master significant skills and content. (Markos, A. & Himmel, J. 2016) At the early stages of English proficiency, students only participate in sheltered instruction during highly context-embedded areas such as music, physical education, and art. Their other content instruction is provided in their native language. When a student reaches an intermediate level of English proficiency, that student will then be eligible to transition into sheltered English for grade-level science and math. Finally, when the student reaches the advanced levels of English proficiency, that student can begin to learn language arts and social studies through sheltered instruction and officially move into the mainstream classroom. As a child’s level of English proficiency increases, so will their exposure and participation in sheltered instruction. (Markos, A. & Himmel, J. 2016) The process of sheltered instruction is to deliver language-rich, content-area instruction that is comprehensible to the learners in English. To be a teacher for sheltered instruction, you need to be certified to teacher the content area material, teach English learners effectively, understand second language acquisition, deliver comprehensible input, address the linguistic needs of ELLs, and have knowledge of the students’ language, culture, and community.
2. Initial Emotional Response (surprised, embarrassed, sad, inspired, excited, puzzled, etc.)
After reading about sheltered instruction, the SIOP model, I was impressed to learn the many different strategies that are implemented into all content areas and language development to improve the effectiveness of teaching ELLs. I was inspired to find that there is a significant improvement in achievement of learning outcomes for English language learners by using the SIOP model. I was also impressed by the way the model was designed to combine features that are recommended for high quality instruction for all students, such as cooperative learning and reading comprehension strategies while including specific features for second language learners, such as language objectives in every lesson delivered, opportunities for oral language exposure and practice, the evolution of background knowledge, and academic vocabulary. (Echevarria, J. & Kareva, V. 2013)
Learning Process 3. Prior Assumptions or Opinions about the described highlight.
Before reading the articles about the SIOP model, I assumed that sheltered instruction, the SIOP model was only intended for ENL programs, not mainstream classrooms. I had the assumption that when the classified ELLs received their ENL program support, that was when the teacher focused on developing lessons for the students to focus on academic language development and academic content. I also assumed that when the students were out of the mainstream classroom and in their ENL program, the term “sheltered instruction” meant that the ELL students studied in classes separate from the mainstream classes and were not able to meet the same academic requirements as the English speaking students in the mainstream classrooms. I assumed that the ELLs would be focusing on mainly reading, writing, listening, and speaking in a separate location where they were able to speak in both their native language and English. I thought that when the students returned to their mainstream classroom after receiving their ENL pullout, they would participate in the classroom curriculum, but receive materials that were considered “watered down.”
4. Source of Assumption or Opinion. What made you have such an assumption?
I had the assumption of sheltered instruction taking place in pull-out ENL programs because when I heard the term “sheltered” I thought it meant that the students would be learning academic language and academic content in a separate classroom of their English-speaking peers. From experience working as a substitute teacher, I have seen both, mainstream classrooms and pull-out ENL programs, and I have noticed the ELLs focusing more on learning a new language and new concepts in their ENL program rather than in the mainstream classroom.
5. Assumption/Opinion Check – Validation/Invalidation
My assumption was invalid because according to Echevarria and Kareva, “schools are faced with teaching second language learners to meet the same academic requirements as other students. (2013) My assumption was also invalidated because in today’s schools, ELLs study alongside their English-speaking peers in the mainstream classrooms. During sheltered instruction, in the mainstream classroom, the teacher makes lessons understandable and meaningful for second language learners. It is the teacher’s job to make adjustments to the lessons to fit the needs of the ELLs. My assumption of curriculum being “watered” down for the ELLs in the mainstream classroom was also invalid. The article states, “Sheltered instruction is not a watered-down version of grade level instruction but is a means for making cognitively challenging lessons comprehensible to second language learners.” (Echevarria, J. & Kareva, V. 2013) In the SIOP model, the teacher will explain the tasks clearly and express the steps written and orally for the second language students. SIOP teachers will talk through the curriculum procedures and use many examples and models to develop the student’s academic language skills across the domains of listening, writing, listening, and speaking. Sheltered instruction is used for instruction in all content areas including science, math, social studies, reading, and language arts.
6. Realization/Aha Moment or Epiphany
I now realize that I had the misconception that sheltered instruction only took place out of the mainstream classroom. After reading the articles, I’ve come to realize that sheltered instruction, the SIOP model is an effective model for teaching second language learners. I learned that the model was beneficial because it promoted teachers to demonstrate curriculum content to second language learners through techniques and strategies that will make the new information the ELL students learning comprehensible. The article states that, “the model was designed to combine features recommended for high quality instruction for all students, such as cooperative learning and reading comprehension strategies with specific features for second language learners, such as language objectives in every lesson, opportunities for oral language practice, and the development of background knowledge and academic vocabulary.” (Echevarria, J. & Kareva, V. 2013) The SIOP model consists of 8 steps, but it not considered a step by step process. The model is framework to for effective lesson planning and delivery. The teacher can add their own style and techniques to promote a successful lesson. Step one is lesson preparation. The teacher will produce a lesson that enables the students to make connections with their own personal knowledge and experiences about the new information being taught. Step 2 is building background. The concepts from the lesson will be related to students’ background experiences. Step 3 is comprehensible input. The teacher will use the proper speech that is appropriate to the students’ proficiency level. Step 4 is strategies. The teacher will include methods and techniques that enhance comprehension for learning and keeping information. Step 5 is interaction. The teacher will allow the students to actively participate, while discussing ideas and information. Step 6 is practice and application. The teacher will provide the students with the opportunity to use hands-on materials or manipulatives to learn and practice content. Step 7 is lesson delivery. The lesson delivery includes the language and content objectives, student engagement, and the pace of the lesson regarding the student’s abilities. Step 8 is review and assessment. The teacher will incorporate review and assessment in daily lessons to assess student learning. (Echevarria, J. & Kareva, V. 2013) I have now learned that by using the SIOP model, teachers will become more motivated to improve their instruction and to use practices that will assist English language learners in both content and academic language.
7. Implications for future teaching practice
In my future teachings, I will be sure to refer to the SIOP model in the classroom. As I am preparing my lessons, I will incorporate the 8 components of the SIOP model to ensure student success. It is said that in the schools where the teachers use the SIOP model, have experienced improvement in academic performance, and those are the results I want to encounter in my future teaching practices. During a lesson, I will connect the content being taught to the students’ background knowledge and experiences. In the classroom, I will post language and content objectives in the beginning and end of my lessons. I will also refer to them in the middle of the lessons so the students can take ownership of their language development, content learning, and their goals. When doing group activities, I will group the students in a heterogeneous mix of language abilities, allowing students of different levels of English proficiency to communicate with other English learners, as well as proficient English speakers. When working with the students in the content areas including math, science, social studies, language arts, I will provide them with many forms of input. I will present the students with posters, charts, diagrams, visuals, and hands-on activities. I will also allow the students to use graphic organizers to express their participation in oral and written instruction. Graphic organizers tend to make the content more comprehensible for English learners. Other tools I can provide the students with are outlines, highlighted texts, Venn diagrams, and discussion webs. All lessons that I perform will be age-appropriate and the proper educational level and language proficiency level of the student.
Markos, A., & Himmel, J. (2016). Using Sheltered Instruction to Support English Learners. Center for Applied Linguistics.
Kareva, V., & Echevarria, J. (2013). Using the SIOP Model for Effective Content Teaching with Second and Foreign Language Learners. 1-10