Teaching ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms

In Semester One, 2013 I completed a course developed by the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development titled ‘Teaching ESL Students in a Mainstream Classroom.’ (TESMC)

TESMC  “is for educators seeking to develop understandings of the cultural and linguistic diversity and experiences of ESL students, the central role language plays in learning and the teaching practices which explicitly support the language learning needs of ESL students.” (http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/docs/documents/1/TeachingEslStudentsinMain.pdf)

The course is based on the following rationale from the DECD website:

“The course is based on the belief that explicit teaching about language is the most effective way to scaffold students to successfully engage with the curriculum.

The course is based on a belief that explicitly and systematically teaching students about language and its use in a range of contexts using a scaffolded approach will impact on the quality of their learning across the learning areas. It provides teachers with an introductory understanding of the English language system, including a language to talk about language. A common metalanguage then builds coherence and consistency between teachers and explicitly supports students in developing their literacy skills.

Student learning about language is best undertaken within the context of a teaching and learning cycle that moves through four key stages: setting the context, modelling and deconstruction, joint construction and independent construction. In the cycle, the teacher has a clear understanding about the kind of language demanded in various teaching and learning activities and how this can help to make decisions about what to scaffold and how to go about doing it.”

 

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