Strategies for Teaching Science to English Learnersby: Deborah Maatta, Fred Dobb, and Karen Ostlund

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Teachers who teach science play a key role with English language learners (ELLs). In this chapter, the authors discuss strategies teachers can use to help English language learners learn science while improving their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in English. They also present ideas on how to connect with the students, use collaborative learning, and develop language skills and process skills of inquiry.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:49 AM

Very informative. The chapter hooks the reader by beginning with a story straight from the classroom. From the very beginning of this chapter the reader is introduced to strategies to help the ELL student. The chapter introduces many strategies and expands on how to use them in your classroom. The chapter also has examples of how each strategy will look and sound as it is being implemented. As a teacher on a bilingual campus and a former pull-out ESL teacher I found this chapter to be very informative and helpful. Many of the strategies were familiar to me but many of the ideas were new. This is a must read for all teachers that teach ELL students. I particularly loved the section connecting with students. Many times we forget that these students want to belong but also don’t want to give up their culture. The authors have great suggestions for making these students feel that they belong to the classroom and can add to it while also acknowledging and celebrating their home culture. From experience I know that students learn better when they feel invested in their learning and this is an excellent way to ensure they are. The chapter contains a table of how the science process skills are related to English-language acquisition, which is perfect for us visual learners. ELL students may be learning English but that does not mean they are behind in science education. This chapters shows us how to reach these language learners while also teaching academic content.

Jennifer Winters
Jennifer Winters

  • on Tue May 28, 2013 11:05 AM

This is an excellent resource for providing ways to help all your students, including your ELL students, as you teach science content. The article points to a body of research that shows that shared experiences through inquiry learning helps students learn. Inquiry learning includes hands-on activities and student collaboration. In addition to the positive impact of inquiry instruction models, the article points out the positive impact teachers can have on their ELL students when they take the time to connect with them and help them to see that they are not alone as they struggle to understand their second language in a scientific context. The teachers can help with their sutdents’ understandings by allowing students to consult with classmates, use dictionaries, and identify to their own personal experiences by seeing materials and equipment labeled in both languages. Vocabulary acquisition continues as students are allowed to use sematic maps, word sorts, and other vocabulary-building activities. These strategies are helpful for all learners. For ideas on how to help your ELL students (and all students) in reading and writing too, see those sections of the article. Treating science as the second language and not the individual learner will increase all students’ understandings.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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