Multi-Level ELL Classrooms [Science] Introduction CALL: Computer Assisted Language Learning Cooperative Learning Assessment by Nettie Wong, Suzanne McNeil & Ben Johnston (EDPY 413) University of Alberta CALL – Computer Assisted Language Learning and the multi-level ELL classroom Overview What makes CALL suitable for the multi-level ELL classroom? What are some additional benefits of using CALL? What are some cautions/barriers of CALL? Practical uses for the science curriculum What makes CALL suitable for the multi-level ELL classroom? 1. Comprehensible Input Krashen’s Comprehensible Input Hypothesis (Beatty, 2003) Customized software: Offers assistance when prompted by the learner Allows the learner to select his/her own language proficiency level May come in the form of computer adaptive testing (CAT) where the learner is guided towards easier or more difficult tasks based on his/her responses to questions a) b) c) What makes CALL suitable for the multi-level ELL classroom? 2. Self-paced Instruction & Lowered Affective Filter Learners have more control over their own learning (autonomy). Slower learners can work at a comfortable pace and can review material as many times as needed. This may help to increase their confidence. Faster learners have more opportunity for accelerated learning and enrichment. - - - What makes CALL suitable for the multi-level ELL classroom? 3. Opportunities for Collaboration - Students can work in pairs, scaffolding one another and verbally interacting to solve problems and negotiate answers - ELLs are encouraged to brainstorm and talk about their learning discoveries What are some additional benefits to using CALL? - - 1. Authentic Tasks The Internet offers a wealth of resources Audio and visual clips permit learners to listen and watch native speakers in realistic, meaningful, cultural environments (Braul, 2006) E.g., e-mail, discussion boards, computer conferencing, engage learners in authentic communication 2. CALL Feedback - Is immediate - Software programs can correct student responses instantly or they can provide hints so that students pinpoint their own mistakes - Tracks the learner’s individual progress What are some problems with CALL? Financial cost Poorly chosen/designed CALL tasks Lack of professional development for teachers Skepticism regarding CALL effectiveness/resistance to change The “Omnipotence Fallacy” & the “Sole Agent Fallacy” (Bax, 2003) Practical uses for the science curriculum Discovery Education Science (elementary & middle school) www.discovery education.com/ products/scienc e/middle.cfm Interact, Watch & Read Practical uses for the science curriculum Tom Snyder (Grades K-12) www.tomsnyder. com/products/ products.asp? Subject=science Practical uses for the science curriculum McGraw-Hill’s Wright Group Content Essentials for Science (Grades K-6) www.mcgrawhill.ca/school/imprints/w right+group/essentials.php Practical uses for the science curriculum Webquest for Grade 8 Unit E: Freshwater and Saltwater Systems www.waterquest.ca/Pages/default. aspx Cooperative Learning for ELLs in Multilevel Classes Cooperative Learning Cooperative learning is based on student-centered learning. “Structured student interactions … that promote a sense of community among students and involves Spencer Kagan’s four principles of cooperative learning: positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation and simultaneous interaction.” (Mason, 2006) Cooperative Learning Storch (2007) refers to group and pair work as “‘collective scaffolding’, a process whereby learners pool their linguistic resources in order to reach resolutions to language-related problems.” Benefits of Cooperative Learning Small groups give the learner more opportunities to use the second language for a range of functions other than teacher-led activities (Storch, 2007). Storch also says cooperative learning facilitates learning by giving “opportunities to give and receive feedback.” Benefits of Cooperative Learning in Teaching ESL Students in a cooperative learning environment [perceive] their environment more favorably (Gomleksiz, 2007). Students who work in pairs produce more grammatically accurate texts (Storch, 2007) i.e. they paid more attention to items that needed correction. Benefits of Cooperative Learning One of the other benefits of cooperative learning is that “its interconnectedness can help students transcend the gender, racial, cultural, linguistic, and other differences they may sense among themselves” (Mason, 2006). Peers of different proficiency levels could benefit from working with one another, when they work collaboratively (Watanabe & Swain, 2007). Requirements for Successful Cooperative Learning Teachers must provide language supports so that students are able to succeed complete the task successfully (i.e. vocabulary supports) Learners often go through a “silent period” in which they listen more than they are able to speak (Mason, 2006). This is a normal stage, but it can cause some difficulties in cooperative learning activities. Requirements for Successful Cooperative Learning Often, in group work, students who do not speak up are viewed as not fulfilling their responsibility (Mason, 2006) – it is important for teachers to take students’ comfort and ability levels into consideration, and to make the cooperating students aware of these. Requirements for Successful Cooperative Learning Low self-esteem, fear of ridicule, and lack of motivation can disrupt a learner’s ability to comprehend and respond to meaningful input (Mason, 2006). Students need to be comfortable in their environment, so they can learn to their best capacity. General Principles Tasks are designed so that individuals must work together Positive interactions are developed and encouraged Students have opportunities to work in different groups Social, language and content skills are integrated into the task (50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners, Herrell and Jordan, 2008) Cooperative Learning Strategies Pair work Students can be paired with partners of equal or differing proficiency Often, having a stronger English model is beneficial – and that stronger student can be groomed to be a tutor Instead of letting the students choose the pairs, the teacher may need to select the students (considering gender, personality and proficiency). Pair Work Strategies Think-Pair-Share Buddy Reading Research Interview Conversation Role-Play “Convince Me” (50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners, Herrell and Jordan, 2008) Group Work Strategies Jigsaw Group Investigation Skills Grouping Group Work Strategies Skills Grouping Skills grouping allows the teacher to arrange students according to their instructional needs The teacher observes the areas of need, then splits the class into groups which are then given differentiated tasks, according to need, i.e., making modifications to the tasks. (Giving students simplified tasks or readings). The teacher needs to be able to spend time with each group while the others are occupied (50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners, Herrell and Jordan, 2008) Group Work Strategies Long-Term Groupings While many in-class activities are short-term, long-term group activities promote a “strong sense of community and solidarity” (Baurain, 2007). Baurain recommends: giving handouts to students after group presentations, so they don’t feel like they are missing out creating a “group contract” to keep students focused and participating Applications For Content Classes (Science) Group work can be particularly useful during laboratory activities or research projects Example for Science 7, Unit B: Plants for Food and Fibre Curriculum point: Unit B, 2.3 “investigate and interpret variation in needs of different plants and their tolerance for different growing conditions.” Suggested activity: a long-term jigsaw group project with integrated skill grouping Example for Science 7, Unit B Plants for Food and Fibre Students are put into “home groups” of at least four students per group. Students break into “research groups” of three to four students. This research group is composed of students of similar skill or proficiency levels (skill grouping). The research groups each have a different kind of plant that they are responsible for manipulating under certain conditions, which will vary weekly (moisture-drought, salinity, light, etc). Example for Science 7, Unit B: Plants for Food and Fibre After each activity in the research group, students return to the home group and report their findings and discuss those findings. To help students, a handout with interview questions can be provided. Students can refer to the interview questions to help elicit information from their group members. Collective findings should be logged in a worksheet which can be handed out to fellow group members after the activity (and so that the teacher can assess participation and progress). Example for Science 7, Unit B Plants for Food and Fibre The research group, which consists of students of similar levels, allows the teacher to modify activities to suit their needs The home group creates a heterogeneous group that provides different English models for students Both groups provide the students with opportunities for communication as they are responsible for ensuring their group members learn from each others’ research. Summary Group and pair work activities give ESL learners more opportunity for communicative feedback, especially when paired with a strong English model. With careful moderation and structure on behalf of the teacher, group and pair work activities encourage communication, relationship building and involvement in content. They can and should be used in content classes. Assessment in Multi-Level Classrooms Assessment in Multi-Level Classrooms Assessment, never an easy part of a teacher’s job, can be complicated by the presence of ESL students in the classroom. ESL students, regardless of ability, are not going to perform as well as native speakers on tests designed for native speakers. Ethical dilemma Is it fair to treat ESL students differently from native speakers? (e.g., extra time on assignments, help on tests, marking effort rather than participation, etc.) If we don’t, how can we mark ESL students fairly? Use different forms of assessment for the whole class Practical ideas for assessment techniques that aren’t exclusive to ESL students Saves time for you More variety for students Milnes & Cheng (2008) Grading ESL students in mainstream classrooms can be complicated by a “success bias”. This is where teachers believe ESL students are being treated unfairly, so they set out to grade ESL students with the preset goal of giving them good marks. e.g., Motivation and effort are given more weight. Not only is this unfair, but it hurts ESL students in the long run. How can we fix this? Clarify expectations…both for yourself and for ESL students. Provide rubrics to students on more assignments, and in more detail, than you usually would. Written in simple, straightforward English (no “teacher speak”). Describe the general structure and function of seed plants. [2-1] 3 (Excellent) 2 (Good) 1 (Poor) Labels - Spelling is perfect or almost perfect - All plant parts are labeled correctly - Spelling is good, but there are 3-5 mistakes - One or two plant parts are wrong - Descriptions - All or almost all the important parts are described in point form - One or two plant parts are not described in point form - Most of the plant parts are not described in point form Overall neatness - The drawing and labels are neat - Writing is neat and easy to read - The drawing and labels are neat - Writing is messy and hard to read - Spelling has a lot of mistakes - Most of the plant parts are wrong The drawing and labels are hard to understand - Writing is messy and hard to read Rubrics Simple, easy-to-understand language Specific evaluation criteria The key is to communicate expectations clearly Role plays A nice change of pace in the classroom Does not put undue emphasis on reading/writing skills Works for both ESL students and native speakers Give ESL students extra help early in the term Group work Have native speakers present first (practical modelling) The idea is to provide extra support to ELLs, and then gradually wean them away from it. Describe the processes of diffusion, osmosis, conduction of fluids, transpiration, photosynthesis and gas exchange in plants. [2-4] Example: Students divide into groups. Individual students represent individual molecules (water, oxygen, etc.). The other students join hands and represent a cell membrane or cell wall. Students rehearse and demonstrate the process or processes they are assigned. Could be combined with a short explanation of the process to the class. Or with a fill-in-the-blank worksheet that the rest of the class completes. Self-Assessment One article (Schraeder, 1996) recommends the heavy use of self-assessment in integrated classrooms. The author had her students create their own marking rubrics and then graded their assignments according to those rubrics (so that each student submitted both an assignment and a rubric). She recommends this as a way of creating increased accountability for students. Problems Fairness? Student/teacher relationship Time constraints However… Self-Assessment Possibilities Solicit student input on grading criteria Individual timeframes For humanities teachers, creative work? Lab Reports How do we help ESL students become familiar with the lab report format? It is a steeper learning curve than it is for native speakers. Formative assessment Formative Assessment – Lab Reports Low-level ESL students: Fill in the blanks for Evidence, Analysis, Conclusion Mid-level ESL students: Fill in the blanks for Evidence, Analysis; answer specific questions for Conclusion High-level ESL students: Answer specific questions for Evidence, Analysis; write Conclusion on their own Native speakers: Write Evidence, Analysis, Conclusion on their own Identify and describe characteristics of different soils and their major component.  (1) Fill in the blanks The organic-rich soil contains much more moisture than the sandy soil. (2) Series of specific questions What did you find the main difference was between the organic-rich soil and the sandy soil? (3) Fully independent work Summarize your findings in the experiment. Unit Exam There are several ways to accommodate ESL students on exams, but these may or may not be fair, and your school or school board may have policies against them (e.g., extra time, oral assistance, point-form instead of paragraph-form, access to dictionaries). Also, non-native speakers won’t have access to many of these considerations on high-level exams (e.g., diploma exams), so if they come to rely on these elements, it could be a problem in the long term. A better option is to build your exam in such a way that it is as intuitive as possible for non-native speakers. Retrofitting old exams Consider language, clarity, hidden assumptions. Sample exam at http://www.ualberta.ca/~benj You can also find our presentation there. References Baurain, B. (2007). Small group multitasking in literature classes. ELT Journal, 61(3), 237. Bax, S. (2003). CALL-Past, Present and Future. System 31(1), 13-28. Retrieved from ERIC database. Beatty, K. (2003). Teaching and Researching Computer-Assisted Language Learning (C.N. Candlin & D.R. Hall, Eds.). London: Pearson Education Limited. Braul, B. (2006). ESL Teacher Perceptions and Attitudes toward Using Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL): Recommendations for Effective CALL Practice. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta. Bull, S. (1997). Promoting Effective Learning Strategy Use in CALL. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 10(1), 3-39. Retrieved from ERIC database. Funaro, N. (2008). Sample test for Science 7, Unit B (Alberta curriculum). Used with permission. Gömleksiz, M. N. (2007). Effectiveness of cooperative learning (jigsaw II) method in teaching english as a foreign language to engineering students (case of firat university, turkey). European Journal of Engineering Education, 32(5), 613. Hanson-Smith, E. (1999). Classroom Practice: Content-Area Tasks in CALL Environments. In J. Egbert & E. Hanson-Smith (Eds.). CALL Environments: Research, Practice, and Critical Issues (pp. 137-158). Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. Heift, T. (2007). Learner Personas in CALL. CALICO Journal, 25(1), 1-10. Retrieved from ERIC database. Herrell, A., & Jordan, M. (2008). 50 strategies for teaching English (3 rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall Mason, K. (2006). Cooperative learning and second language acquisition in first-year composition: Opportunities for authentic communication among english language learners. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 34(1), 52. Milnes, T. & Cheng, L. (2008). Teachers’ assessment of ESL students in mainstream classrooms: Challenges, strategies and decision-making. TESL Canada Journal, 25(2), 49-65. Schraeder, L. (1996). Empowering ESL students in the mainstream through self assessment and contracted learning. EDRS report. Retrieved from ERIC database. Storch, N. (2007). Investigating the merits of pair work on a text editing task in ESL classes. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 143 Tannenbaum, J. (1996). Practical ideas on alternative assessment for ESL students. ERIC digest. Retrieved from ERIC database. . Watanabe, Y., & Swain, M. (2007). Effects of proficiency differences and patterns of pair interaction on second language learning: Collaborative dialogue between adult ESL learners. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 121.