Title

Strategies to Increase Success of English Learners in Elementary Science

Lead Author Major

Education

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Elaine Mo

Faculty Mentor Department

Education

Abstract/Artist Statement

The number of English Learners (ELs) as well as the pressure to have students proficient on state testing are both increasing in elementary schools across the United States (Echevarria et. al., 2011). English Learners are expected to meet the standards set forth for their grade levels, but are not always equipped with the tools they need for success. Although we have made great strides in developing strategies for teachers to support ELs with their language development, the new Common Core State Standards (California Department of Education, 2013) highlights a new focus on developing literacy in content areas, for example, science. This study is an endeavor to identify effective instructional strategies in science that increase the number of ELs who are proficient in science standards. Eight in-depth observations of a fifth grade teacher during science and the reactions of three of her EL students were conducted. The strategies found to be helpful are visual aids, in addition to orally repeating concepts to students throughout the lesson. As a future elementary school teacher, I next tried to use these identified strategies to teach science lessons and observe how the strategies worked with the same 3 EL students. I found four important factors in supporting EL success in science: learning through investigation, having additional support from peers or a teacher, direct instruction, and use of academic language by the teacher and the student. These latter two seemed critical in order for students to successfully demonstrate their understanding of key concepts through language use.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

26-4-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

26-4-2014 4:40 PM

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Apr 26th, 1:00 PM Apr 26th, 4:40 PM

Strategies to Increase Success of English Learners in Elementary Science

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

The number of English Learners (ELs) as well as the pressure to have students proficient on state testing are both increasing in elementary schools across the United States (Echevarria et. al., 2011). English Learners are expected to meet the standards set forth for their grade levels, but are not always equipped with the tools they need for success. Although we have made great strides in developing strategies for teachers to support ELs with their language development, the new Common Core State Standards (California Department of Education, 2013) highlights a new focus on developing literacy in content areas, for example, science. This study is an endeavor to identify effective instructional strategies in science that increase the number of ELs who are proficient in science standards. Eight in-depth observations of a fifth grade teacher during science and the reactions of three of her EL students were conducted. The strategies found to be helpful are visual aids, in addition to orally repeating concepts to students throughout the lesson. As a future elementary school teacher, I next tried to use these identified strategies to teach science lessons and observe how the strategies worked with the same 3 EL students. I found four important factors in supporting EL success in science: learning through investigation, having additional support from peers or a teacher, direct instruction, and use of academic language by the teacher and the student. These latter two seemed critical in order for students to successfully demonstrate their understanding of key concepts through language use.