Transcript of English as an additional language/dialect

ANNETTE GRAY

Hello, everybody, and welcome to Syllabus PLUS for English K-6, Series 2. This is the third in our series for Term 1 in 2014. And today, we'll be looking at the EAL/D learners in English K-6. My name is Annette Gray. I'm a literacy advisor K-6 with the Learning and Leadership Portfolio. My colleague today is Jodie Braiding, who is the EAL/D New Arrivals Program Officer (rural & regional) in the same portfolio. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and pay our respects to elders past and present. We acknowledge the contribution of Aboriginal Australians and non-Aboriginal Australians to the education of all people. Now, our learning intentions for today, our participants will know who our EAL/D learners are and why we need to address their language needs. Second part of it is we will understand that relationship between the English syllabus outcomes and the ESL scales which we are very familiar with because they're in the old syllabus and they're on every outcomes page in the new syllabus. And by the end of today, you'll be able to use the ESL scales information in the syllabus to assist in the differentiation of learning. In 2013, there was a rough count - approximately 752,000 students in New South Wales public schools. And of those, 136,188 of them require EAL/D support in order to access syllabus outcomes appropriately. I'm going to hand over to Jodie Braiding, who is now going to take you through the information and the knowledge that you'll need. Thank you, Jodie.

JODIE BRAIDING

Thanks, Annette. And hello, everyone. So what does this mean? This means that a significant number of students in your schools are learning English as an additional language or dialect. Now, this term - 'English as an additional language or dialect', or EAL/D - is a term that's now being used nationally to describe the students who you probably know as ESL learners, which is the term we used in New South Wales DEC schools previously. This term more adequately describes our learners because, for many of our students, they are learning English as a third or fourth language, not just a second language. In New South Wales, students who are learning English as an additional language... are assessed against a tool called the ESL scales. This is a benchmarking tool which is used to measure students' progression in learning English. Just spoken to that slide, so I'll just move on. Sorry. OK, so what have we got? Why am I telling you this? Why do you need to know? What advice does the English syllabus provide us with? The syllabus provides us with useful advice about the type of language learning that's required to work towards the syllabus outcomes. The ESL scales' advice does not replace the English outcomes. It's just a tool or resource... The ESL scales is a tool or resource. It's not the syllabus. So it's an important point to know and understand. A few key assumptions in syllabus design. The first one... students start school in Kindergarten with English as their main language. The medium of instruction is Standard Australian English. And that learning is demonstrated through Standard Australian English. Now, for many of us, probably all who are in this audience today... we need to differentiate... so that we're supporting access for our EAL/D learners to both the content and the language they require for school learning. If you have EAL/D students in your class, then you'll probably recognise this very challenging task that the students have. Our students need to not only learn English, but they need to learn in or through English and they need to learn about English. So let's make this task easy for them. So just before I move into the syllabus, and the ESL scales, I want to share some key advice about language development. Now, according to Jim Cummins, based in Ontario... Jim describes language as having two purposes - well, language has many purposes - but two types of languages. A social language, or language for social use, and academic language - language which, in our context, is language for school learning. BICS - Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills. And CALP - Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency. You don't need to remember those technical terms, as long as you remember that there's a social language and there's an academic language. Have a look at the time there on that slide. It's quite different. The time it takes to learn the social language is quite short. And the time it takes to learn academic language or the language for school learning is quite long. If you've got students who are from a limited literacy background, if you have many refugee students in our schools who are from a limited literacy background, then that time's extended to about 11 years, according to this research. So what is this BICS and CALP? What is this social and academic language? And why do I need to know this? Think for a moment about the language your students use in the playground... and the language your students use in the classroom or in learning. Is it the same? Or is it different? Will the language they use in the playground enable them to learn and work towards their stage outcomes in classroom academic learning? I'll leave that one as a rhetorical question. Do you think the students can rely on their social language to assist them in those academic contexts? OK. So let's have a look at the ESL scales now. I need to introduce you to the scales in an abridged form to build your field knowledge so that you can better understand the relationship between the scales and the content area outcomes of the syllabus. Now, this is a tool that was developed by Curriculum Corporation, and what it shows is a progression of language development. Now, the tool breaks language use into three main modes - Oral Interaction, which is listening and speaking, Reading and Responding, and Writing. And if you have a look at the diagram on the screen, you'll see those modes are represented in columns. The levels start from the bottom... ..with level 1 being the lowest level in Oral Interaction, level 8 being close to but not quite at a near native-like proficiency. In Reading and Responding, and in writing, there are seven regular levels. Again, with level 1 being the lowest level, and level 7 being close to but not approximating near-native-like proficiency. You'll notice that there's three beginning levels on Reading, Responding, and Writing. And those levels are used to describe learners who begin to learn English without print literacy in their first language. Now, consider these levels... in relation to the length of time it takes to learn English. So we're looking at five to seven years or seven to eleven years. So students are not going to move too rapidly through these levels. So what do we need to do? What's our role? Our role is to teach and support our students to work towards the syllabus outcomes. The ESL scales is a tool to support this learning pathway in that it allows you to map student assessment to a level of English and plan from that level forward. So you're moving your students from their zone of actual development in English-language proficiency to their zone of proximal development. Thank you, Mr Vygotsky. So if you think of the literacy continuum, which I know you know, replace that now with language. So the ESL scales is a continuum, or a progression, of learning. It shows through its outcomes and pointers how students are learning, what to expect next. We use it as a tool for assessment of learning... and a tool for planning and programming to assist students to work towards syllabus outcomes. Now, you can't use the ESL scales alone. Of course, your teaching, your lesson delivery, needs to have those meaning-making resources, the scaffolding message abundancy, as a way of assisting the students to access the learning. OK, let's move on now to the syllabus. Now, here is just a page from the syllabus document. I've chosen Stage 3. And I've chosen an outcome from Objective A. It's a talking and listening outcome. Now, I'm not expecting you to read that on the screen. It's just a graphic. But what you'll see on that screen is text around the ESL scales. And you've probably read that text and thought, "Mmm, what does this really mean?" Now, it's quite loaded and it's quite deep. Now, remember, ESL scales refer to students' levels of English. Alright, now I'm just going to unpack that a little bit more for you in the next slide. OK, so you'll see on this slide Stage 3. I've chosen a communicating outcome. "A student communicates effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues, and language forms and features." Being a Stage 3 outcome... it's quite a high-level outcome in terms of... expects a high level of language use. Now, the text around the ESL scales, what are we told? We're told that in order for an EAL/D student to meet this Stage 3 outcome, then the student must be functioning at level 7 to 8, Oral Interaction. Now, remembering back to that diagram, those are the highest levels in Oral Interaction. Now, I wonder if all of your EAL/D students are functioning at the highest level in your Stage 3 classes in Oral Interaction. Probably not, OK? So the other texts that we're provided with... allows us to map a pathway for our students from their ESL scales level of English to work towards this particular syllabus outcome. This ESL scales mapping is the best fit for the purpose of that outcome. So I'm just going to read it to you again. Think about what it actually means, 'cause I'm going to then unpack the ESL scales so you'll see the relationship between the language the students need in order to work towards this outcome. A student communicates effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues, language forms and features." This student needs to have a high level of English to be able to manipulate their language. OK, before I turn to the next slide, I just want you to notice the numbering of those ESL scales, outcomes and pointers down the bottom. The first number refers to the level. So we've got two pointers, two outcomes at level 1 - 1.2, 1.4. Two at level 2, etc, etc, etc. The second number refers to what we call in ESL scales a strand organiser, or a competency of English-language proficiency. And now you're going, "What the...?" "What's that?" I hear you say. Again, look at this one as a bit of an image. This is a page from the ESL scales. OK? You'll see that the ESL scales document, ESL scales levels, are organised in strand organisers. Strand organisers refer to communicative competency or competency in English. Now, if you're thinking that all students have to do is learn vocabulary and grammar in order to be proficient in English... then that's not the case. There's a lot more to it than that. The strand organisers enable the student to use a range of strategies to develop their English-language proficiency. OK, I'm just going to unpack that a little bit further for you. Now, having a look again at Outcome A. There's a couple of content pointers there as well. And I've chosen just one level from that pathway that was provided on the previous page. I've just chosen level 2. And I've unpacked that now. I've taken the text from the ESL scales so you can see that those outcomes have meaning related to that particular English case X outcome. So I've chosen level 2. By choosing level 2, it would mean that I'm assuming my student is functioning at level 1 in the ESL scales, working towards level 2. OK, now thinking back to the meaning of the outcome. In ESL scales, the best fit is a student tunes into the sounds of English and shows understanding of when to use available English acceptably. And a student uses some basic communication and learning strategies to participate in everyday class activities. Now, this is Oral Interaction, and this is level 2. Now, of those eight levels, you know that that means that this student is actually a beginner in English, probably a new arrival. Think now about the relationship between that text in the ESL scales and the outcome and you should be able to see that this is a type of language that the student needs in order to work towards that particular outcome. OK, let's unpack it a little bit further, because ESL scales has outcomes and pointers. And I've just chosen some of those to put on this slide. OK, you can see on this slide the two strand organisers - Language & Cultural Understanding and Strategies. Now, 'strategies' in this context refers to what the student does in order to understand the messages and in order to make meaning. So have a quick scan of those pointers now and you should be able to see the relationship between the type of language that we need to engage a student in in order to assist the student to work towards that outcome from their zone of actual development. OK, now, I've done the same for level 3 so you can now see the pattern in the type of language use. For a student who's functioning at level 2, I'm obviously working towards the next level. I'll just read some of those outcomes. Demonstrates awareness of aspects of spoken English necessary for communicating and learning at school. Engages in, elicits and practises English to extend oral repertoire." OK, so we're moving on to the 'So what?' factor. So what does this mean? What does this mean for you? What do I have to do with this information? You'll see here a visual representation for differentiation, for EAL/D learners. It starts at the top with the learning outcomes because we need to work to... All our students... We need to support our students to work towards the learning outcomes. But we must consider the students' assessed level of English and the students', therefore, zone of proximal development. So let me unpack this. And it goes down two arms, two different sides. First of all, I'm unpacking my content in terms of essential understandings. Why does that learning matter? What is my student's prior learning? What are the cultural demands? What cultural assumptions will I make in delivering this particular lesson? Do I need to extend my field-building activities to ensure my student is able to access the content? How am I going to teach and assess these understandings if my student is still learning English as an additional language?" So that's where we need to work with our meaning-making resources scaffolding. Now, at the same time all of that's happening... we need to ensure that we're teaching language, and we're teaching language appropriate for this particular student, or students, in your class. Which means you need to make sure that the language is relevant for school learning for the task. So your language outcomes, what language is required, in this learning. And how are you going to teach that language? Again, using your meaning-making resources and scaffolding, and ensuring that you're moving your students from their zone of actual development, their ESL scales level, to their zone of proximal development, their next level. So in summary, we need to plan for language outcomes as well as content outcomes. We need to carefully select and sequence our tasks. We need to move generally from the more spoken-like to more written-like uses of language - the mode continuum. We need to use different meaning-making resources... such as models, diagrams, written-like instructions, message abundancy. How can I deliver this message without just using language?" We need to provide opportunities for students to interact with others in pairs, groups, involved in spoken-language tasks, which is learning to use speech as a process. We need to mediate during group work so that teachers are able to appropriate language for students at point of need. OK, now I just...I'm going to go quickly into the mode continuum because, having mentioned that, it's an incredibly useful tool for understanding language and for supporting students to move from that very spoken-like text - spoken or written - to the much more written-like text. The mode continuum is about language, spoken or written. It's about both. It's about context of culture and context of situation. It's about how language is used in each of these. Now, in order to make that come to life for you, I want you to think about how you used some of your language today. Think about how you used your language where there was a shared knowledge of the context that may have been the continuation of a conversation you had previously or it may have been a conversation around a text or something at lunchtime. Whatever. Think about the type of language you used when there was a shared knowledge of context. Think about the type of language you used when you needed to provide the context. How did your language differ? OK, let's have a look at how language changes. So as I bring these up... have a look at how the language shifts along the mode continuum. It moves from very context-embedded to very context-reduced. And what we always want our students to do is produce a language that's text, whether it's spoken or written, as a very context-reduced text. We don't want our students to produce text that looks like spoken language written down. We want it to look like text that is read. How do we that? In order to do that, I always call it putting the cement in. We actually have to design activities to move the students along that mode continuum which model the type of language that we want our students to use. Now, for me, the easiest way to do that is look at the end result. What do I want? What type of language? What type of text, spoken or written, do I want my students to use? And I just backward-map that in terms of the activities that I design for students for language-learning. That way, you're ensuring that you have modelled the language you want your students to produce instead of just going from the language of action to the language of reflection, with none of the cement in between. OK, so in summary... Relating back now to the scales and syllabus... starting with, of course, your student. What are your students' levels of English? Mapping those levels of English to ESL scales across the range of learners in your classes. What do you want your students to learn, and why does it matter? We're working towards syllabus outcomes. What are the language demands of the task? In your chosen task to meet those syllabus outcomes, what are the language demands? Is there assumed cultural knowledge in the task or in the content? What scaffolding is required to support the student to access the content? What scaffolding is required to support the student to access language for learning? How will you assess knowledge of content and knowledge of language? ESL scales resource is readily available on the multicultural programs website, intranet website. The URL is provided there for you. Additional advice about EAL/D learners, supporting learners through differentiation, scaffolding how students learn a second language, can be sought through many texts. But this one in particular will provide you with very up-to-date information. It's available at the Henry Parkes Equity Resource Centre as well. That brings us to the end of our session today. I want to thank you for your interest and participation in this session and you're obviously... you want to learn to better support EAL/D learners to access the curriculum. And I'm going to hand back to Annette. Thank you, everyone.

ANNETTE GRAY

Thanks, Jodie. What we have now is a wonderful resource in this session that you can come back to to check the flow of the process that we need to be going through to know, very confidently, that we have the skills and the support to identify and meet the needs of our EAL/D students. Thanks, Jodie. Thanks, everybody. The recording will be available to you as soon as we get it to you. Thank you.

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