New standards (CCSS, ELD, and NGSS, etc.) emphasize developing students’ abilities to use language in academic settings for complex purposes. The new standards specifically describe the importance of understanding complex texts, critiquing the reasoning of others, and using evidence to support ideas orally and in writing. This focus on constructing and communicating complex ideas is a major shift for many schools who have focused on teaching discrete facts and vocabulary items for multiple choice tests.
This course facilitates the practical exploration and expertise-building of seven essential ALD (academic language development) practices that we have identified as being powerful for developing school language and literacy across grade levels and content areas and for supporting the implementation of new standards. The course focuses on three “high-impact” practices (Using complex texts, Fortifying complex output (written and oral), Fostering academic interactions), which are supported by four essential practices (Clarifying, Modeling, Guiding, and Designing instruction). This course looks closely at the development of “language for content and content for language.” It organizes a massive collaboration of educators who wish to support students, particularly English Language Learners, in developing their abilities to use complex language.
In order to develop complex language, educators need to be careful observers and analyzers of student language throughout a lesson and when looking at language evidence.This course asks participants to gather, analyze, and share examples of student language from their classrooms. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand and develop the academic uses of language in school-based learning and apply what they learn in the future.
Coaching/PD Provider Component. In addition, each of the five sessions has a coaching component to help instructional coaches and professional development providers improve their coaching around these practices, with suggestions for working with teachers who are also taking the course. Coaches/PD Providers also have different but related assignments.
You do not have to be a teacher to take this course. The course may also be valuable to instructinoal coaches, teacher educators, and site and district administrators, among others. In order to fully participate in the course, however, you do need to have access to a classroom in which you can obtain student language samples and implement lessons (or collaborate with classroom teachers to obtain student language samples and implement lessons). This is because several of the course assignments require submitting language samples - either samples of student writing or brief transcriptions of students’ oral language - and reflecting on lessons.
Session 1: Shifting and Framing our Practices I (Jan 14 - Feb 14)
This first session provides a brief overview of the course and addresses the role of classroom language in learning and teaching. In this session we also address why attending to student language is vital (but often neglected), particularly if our ultimate goal is to improve the overall quality of academic learning. The tasks for this session are specifically designed to prepare the participant to gather, analyze, and reflect on samples of student language.
Session 2: Using Complex Texts (High-Impact Practice 1) (Feb 15 - March 13)
In this second session participants learn how they can use the texts in their discipline to teach the language of the discipline. This means not only helping students to “access” the texts (unrdestand the content), but also to “own” the language and content well enough to use it in novel ways to read and communicate in the future.
Session 3: Fortifying Complex Output (High-Impact Practice 2)(March 14 - April 13)
This third session provides an in-depth look at how to fortify the quantity and quality of oral, written, and multimedia output. It emphasizes building students’ abilities to use and link multiple sentences to communicate complex ideas and describe disciplinary thinking.
Session 4: Fostering Academic Interactions (High-Impact Practice 3) (April 14 - May 14)
This fourth session shows how to cultivate constructive classroom conversations through instructional scaffolding and teacher modeling. In this session course participants also will have an opportunity to teach a conversation skill, observe, and then analyze a paired student conversation.
Session 5: Designing and Teaching ALD Lessons (May 15 - June 14)
This final session pulls together what we have learned in the course to design lessons that effectively and efficiently strengthen language for and through content learning. They will design a lesson that uses one or more of the ALD teaching practices from the previous sessions. They will also answer several reflection questions on the lesson and the course.