9. It is important that my students answer correctly questions that go beyond simply "KNOWLEDGE." How can I help my Language Minority students answer "EVALUATION" questions? How can I help them express their opinions and judgements?
Language Minority Students can and do answer high level critical thinking skills questions, like EVALUATION questions (as per Blooms Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain), when they can express themselves fluently through their primary languages. Many times LMSs have difficulty answering high level critical thinking skills questions in English because they lack sufficient English language skills and vocabulary.
At the Pre-Production stage of English language acquisition, students can actively participate in instructional activities that allow them to observe, recognize, locate, identify, classify, practice, collect, distinguish, categorize, repeat, match, show, select, construct, assemble, arrange, and put things in order. All these actions describe lower level critical thinking skills. However, these lower level thinking skills build the foundation for higher level thinking skills. Through physical actions like pointing, touching, raising their hand, bringing down their hand, clapping, finding, giving to, tapping, nodding, and/or drawing, Pre-Production LMSs can give evidence of engaging in critical thinking, and can physically respond to questions and/or commands in a second language English. At the Pre-Production stage LMSs cannot respond verbally in English.
It is important to consider that whenever students are learning new concepts, or applying new concepts, through their primary language or through their second language, all students return to the Pre-Production level of language acquisition. Why? Because they need to observe, recognize, identify, and distinguish these new concepts, and they need to acquire and develop the technical language of the content area to be able to talk, read and write about these concepts, in their own primary language and/or in the second language --English.
Early Production LMSs begin to express themselves verbally in English, and can respond to questions with single words or short phrases. Through many experiences, role playing situations, dramatizations, choral speaking, hands-on activities, flannel boards, manipulatives, visual aids, etc., students can now, in English and in their primary language, name, recall, give examples, draw, organize, decide, describe, tell, imagine, restate, create, appraise, dramatize, contrast, compare, question, map and discriminate. These higher level thinking skills can be promoted through the written language. Teachers can help students label, chart known and new vocabulary into categories, cluster similarities and differences, organize all the information students need to express themselves orally, and, eventually, to read and write.
Speech Emergence Language Minority Students converse in English (and in their primary language) using more complex phrases and sentences. At this stage of language acquisition, Speech Emergence, LMSs begin to read in order to learn. Students can now participate in story telling and conduct interviews. They can write group stories and student-authored books. They can engage in conversations with the teacher and other students through dialogue journals. At this stage LMSs can list, underline, review, interpret, compose, dictate, point out, record, report, predict, express, plan and evaluate. The teacher can provide effective assistance through vocabulary charts, graphs, semantic and story mapping, and through all other visual means of displaying the information students need to engage in the above higher order thinking skills.
At the Intermediate Fluency stage of language acquisition, LMSs function effectively in every-day classroom conversations and discussions. The emphasis on academic language development continues. LMSs at this stage can discuss their own experiences or the experiences they have ascertained through reading. Students at this stage can discover relationships between the contents of reading selections and their own experiences and knowledge. WRITTEN LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES SHOULD EXTEND AND SUPPORT ORAL LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT. The teacher can plan group discussions, simulations, debates, and help students participate in story-telling, in speaking before groups, and in formulating student initiated questions. Intermediate Fluency LMSs greatly expands their use of figurative language and idiomatic expressions in both, their primary and second languages.
Intermediate Fluency LMSs can, in English and through their primary language, relate, generalize, demonstrate, outline, summarize, suppose, estimate, judge, explain, debate, illustrate, infer, revise, rewrite, assess, interpret, justify, and critique. These students need to elaborate their speech, in English and through the primary language. They need to begin to self-monitor and self-test their use of language to demonstrate engagement in the highest level critical thinking skills.
For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:
1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading
Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)
Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.
For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:
CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.
Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)
3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406
Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605