Working With Multilingual Learners
Classroom Practices: Background
This section focuses on practical classroom strategies and ways to support multilingual learners in the classroom. Information on reading, academic writing, group work and discussion can be found in separate sections. There is also a section with strategies collected from interviews and discussions with UFV faculty members.
- Suggestions for implementing the principles of SLA are found on pages 36-46.
- Scaffolding a lecture pp. 36-41
- Facilitating class discussion pp. 41-43
- Specific strategies for supporting multilingual learners and helping them join the discussion are found in the text box on p. 41.
- Class Readings pp. 43-46
The challenges of learning in another language
This video below demonstrates the challenges involved in trying to learn academic content in another language. This is a daunting task which involves dealing with complex abstract concepts in a different language and a different culture.
This video discuses a rationale for the basic strategies for supporting multilingual learners:
Chapter 3: Applying the principles of second language acquisition
Theory and research on second language acquisition has resulted in principles guiding classroom practices and teaching methodology in ESL classrooms. These include “scaffolding,” or finding ways to support language acquisition in the classroom, providing opportunities for classroom so that students receive feedback on their communication and acquire self-confidence confidence as their ability to communicate improves through practice, and noticing, or attention to specific language patterns and features, e.g. discipline-specific vocabulary and text features of specific academic text types.
Instructors are well aware that students, whether they speak English as a first language or an additional language, are learning the vocabulary of an academic discipline as they are learning the course content.
The following two questions for reflection found on p. 35 are very helpful:
- What are some of the discipline-specific terms or concepts that students might not know prior to taking your course?
- How could you apply the SLA (second language acquisition) principles (scaffolding, interaction, noticing) to make these terms more comprehensible to students (e.g. during class lecture?