Transcript of Differentiating the curriculum – English as an additional language or dialect (EALD) learners and the new syllabus

Speaker 1: Enrol if you haven't already done so. Okay, an outline of the session today. We'll be looking at what the syllabus says about the diversity of learners, students with special needs and making adjustments. We're looking at designing learning pathways for all your students, knowing your students, understanding what differentiation means and how we differentiate. We're looking at considerations with making adjustments with students with special needs and teaching strategies to help EAL/D learners and to support the Aboriginal pedagogy framework. We have a new building capacity resource to launch today on Financial Maths Stage 4 and Money Smart teaching resources for Stage 4 and Stage 5. We also have Scootle to show you. It will be launched in the near future and you'll be able to access all sorts of resources from there nationally. So let's kick this off and get going.

So what does our syllabus say about the diversity of learners? Basically, our syllabus ... our Mathematics K-10 Syllabus actually supports the fact that in all the advice that has been given for supporting students with special needs, gifted and talented students, students learning English as a second language. It actually contains all the information you need to apply teaching strategies, to look up any information you need. We've got the life skills component. We've got a lot of support documents to support it as well.  It really does focus on teaching all students, not just [inaudible 00:01:41] focus, but teaching above, below and addressing the needs of all our students.

So basically, it's designed to accommodate teaching approaches to support the learning needs of all students. We have our stage statements and the continuum of learning which can help teachers identify the starting point for instruction for every student.

Collaborative curriculum planning will determine the most appropriate curriculum option for students with special education needs, keeping in mind their needs, their learning needs, their strengths, their goals, their interests. Most students with special education needs will participate fully in learning experiences based on the regular syllabus outcomes and content. However, some students may require additional support or adjustments to learning, teaching, and assessment activities.

In our syllabus page eight, there is a statement about adjustments. Adjustments are measures of actions taken in relation to teaching, learning and assessment that enable students to access syllabus outcomes and content. There are many, many forms of adjustment and it really depends on the students in your classroom. There's classroom organisation, there's appropriate materials and resources to support teaching and learning activities. There's the amount of content to be covered in a particular lesson or unit of work or the time allocated to complete a work. There's consideration of students' individual communication strategies, including verbal and non-verbal communication systems. Additional demonstration of key concepts and skills by the teacher and the teacher's aide. A range of appropriate learning activities with structured opportunities for guided and independent practise and effective feedback. Group work, peer, or volunteer tutoring and other individual assistance as required.

In our syllabus, basically students with special education needs can access 7-10 syllabus outcomes in a range of ways. They can be under regular course arrangements with adjustments to teaching and learning assessments, activities, experiences or through 7-10 Life Skills outcomes and content. For some students with special education needs, particularly those students with an intellectual disability, it may be determined that adjustments are not sufficient to access some or all of the stage outcomes. For those students, they can access the 7-10 Life Skills outcomes and content and can provide the basis for developing a rigorous and accessible, appropriate programme for them. There's a range of adjustments that should be explored before a decision is made to access Life Skills and it really needs to be a collaborative process at school with teachers and parents before this decision is made.

The Board of Studies has released a support document for mathematics. It basically states ... it's call the Life Skills Years 7-10: Advice on Planning, Programming and Assessment. It can give you further information on how you can cater for students with special needs. Advice from the Board. This is really important. This has been released by the Board of Studies. Some of you have seen it. It's a flowchart to help you decide, you know, which kids with special needs may need to access Life Skills and what we need to do to support them and how we can support them.

Basically the question, you need to ask yourself in terms of collaborative planning is can the student access syllabus outcomes at his stage or identified chronological age without adjustments or support. If yes, you select the outcomes and plan your teaching around their chronological age in one or more strands. If no, you then have to ask yourself well can the student access syllabus outcomes at the stage identified to his age with adjustments or other supports. If yes, select the outcome at the student's chronological age or stage identified, plan relevant adjustments and other support for teaching and learning experiences and assessment opportunities.

If the answer to the first question was no, we need to identify a prior stage at where the student can access syllabus outcomes. So where is the student at? Some sort of pre-assessment needs to be made to work out where they're at in terms of stage, then you need to select the outcomes, ensure the content used to address the outcomes is age appropriate and plan the relevant adjustments and other support for teaching and learning experiences and assessment opportunities. This isn't something you do alone. It is a collaborative process and it really needs to be done within the school with a team.

So school systems and individual schools are responsible for the manner in which the collaborative process is managed. Here's a model that the Board of Studies suggests that participants gather to discuss the needs of the student first. Curriculum options are considered and an appropriate pattern of study decided. Relevant adjustments and/or support are then selected. From there, additional goals beyond the curriculum are set if required and a review of planning process is negotiated. This is expected to be done at school level with your teachers and your students and parents involved.

When you look at your Life Skills content, we basically have three strands. Within the three strands, we have nine sub-strands.  So, Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and Probability. Within the nine sub-strands, we then have a total of 39 outcomes for all of Life Skills 7-10. There are three working mathematically outcomes, as listed above and then a whole list of the rest of the outcomes. You'll find it at the back of your syllabus or you can go online to the Board of Studies and go to the interactive model and you'll find it listed there as well.

There's a whole table of outcomes and then you enter into the content. So this is an example of what it looks like with content. This is Number then it breaks down. It gives you the content, the Life Skills content at the top, et cetera.

Okay, so when designing pathways of learning at Stage 4 for all students, one consideration is to think about, "Well, who are my students?" You need to know your students and you need to know the diversity of learners within your classroom. So students can come from all sorts of backgrounds and can overlap in many ways. You can have EAL/D Learners, that is students who have English as a second language or dialect. You can have students with disabilities, GAT students, students above or below stage level. The first part of the planning is to know your kids and know where they're at.

Once we though about who are the students in our class and who are we catering for, we then think about, "well what does curriculum differentiation look like?" What do I need to do to help all my students? Well, basically we aim for equity of access to the Maths 7-10 syllabus for all our kids. We plan pathways of learning for students within each stage.

In terms of students with disabilities, you're going to be considering curriculum adjustments and instructional adjustments and environmental adjustments. For your GAT kids, you'll be taken into consideration the fact that they have the capacity to learn at faster speeds and the ability to deal with complexity. The capacity to solve complex problems, deal with abstract ideas and make connexions between concepts. Some students may require differentiation, which is modifying pace of delivery, level of content being taught, activities, learning environments, experiences.

Some may require acceleration, where students are studying at a higher stage or level. Others will benefit greatly from curriculum compacting. For our EAL/D learners, simultaneously learning a new language and new knowledge concepts and skills through that language requires a great deal of support and informed teaching strategies language and aids. So when we're thinking about curriculum differentiation, it's going to look different for your different groups of students.

Looking at the top first, where you're accessing the curriculum, modifying the content, are you modifying the process? Are we looking at various products and giving students choice of product? Do we look at modifying the learning environment? Do we want them to work in groups or with a mentor or with external bodies? When you're looking at actual content, you're thinking about well am I going to look at acceleration for my students or curriculum compacting, extension enrichment? Am I looking at the kids who are below stage level in terms of remedial or curriculum adjustments or other adjustments? There are so many aspects you need to consider and so many areas that need to be explored. But the first step is know your students, then know all the different types of ways you can actually differentiate the curriculum and what you need to do to cater for each of your students in your group.

Okay, so curriculum differentiation really meets the need of all learners, not just one group of learners, all learners in different ways. Know your students. Know where your students are in terms of prior knowledge. Know what concept you want to teach. Plan a sequence of activities that address the concept, then think about the differentiation. Do I want to differentiate the content, the process, the product, or the learning environment? Within, look at the activities and modify the activity to cater for all our students.

So when we look at the first stage, know your students and where they're at in terms of prior knowledge. This may mean curriculum knowledge and skills, it may mean language skills, literacy skills, their ability to understand concepts and general capabilities. You may need some tools to help you in terms of determining where your students are at in different areas.

Once you have a good idea of where you think your students are at in terms of prior knowledge, it's then a lot simpler to look at the activity that you planned for this unit of work and look at modifying them to suit your students. In terms of student who are learning English as a second language, some of the pedagogy behind it, in terms of modifying activities will be controlled activities, guided activities, independent activities and working through those three levels.

So what does it look like in real life. Well, when you differentiate the curriculum and you're talking about content differentiation, it means access to various stages of the curriculum. It means thinking about modifying curriculum resources for a concept. Perhaps, presenting problems with varying degrees of difficulty and designing learning pathways for accessing the outcomes on the continuum at students level of learning, curriculum compacting or acceleration.

In terms of process, working mathematical skills is the best way to differentiate your learning. Then you have to think about your structure. Is it going to be a guided activity, scaffolded, independent research, problem-based learning, group investigations. Pacing, you know, will they work at their own pace? Will they be flexible learning? Will they set their own timelines, will you give them a timeline? Select the process. Do students choose processes to solve problems? Is there opportunities for extension? And then is there an opportunity for complexity, in which case you need to tap into Blooms taxonomy or Makers or Williams model and look at the way they design their questions to cater for higher order thinking.

In terms of differentiating the activities you give to students, one of the loveliest ways you can actually go through and adapt it to suit all your kids is looking at the cognitive process dimension and use it when you're planning your activities. You can take one activity and step through and see how complex the activity really is.

So looking at a very basic level, where you're asking kids to retrieve or locate information, record facts or lists of information. Part two - understanding or explaining, interpreting, construct solve. Constructing meaning from oral, written or graphical form. Three where they are applying knowledge. So carrying out a process or use a procedure. Analyse, and some of the verbs you might use is select, compare, investigate, distinguish, describe. And at this point they are basically breaking down information into components and determining the relationships.

Then you've got evaluate. So at evaluate, you're at quite a sophisticated level of thinking here. If you're asking kids to justify, determine, suggest, develop or predict, they are actually making judgements based on criteria at this point. It's quite higher order thinking processes that are undertaken at this point. And the highest, of course, is when they are really organising elements into a pattern or structure. So they are creating. They are inventing, they are generating or producing something.

You may have your own set of verbs you look at in terms of developing activities or your own way that you look at things in your faculty, but this is a great one. Very simple and easy to use. A lot of people use Blooms taxonomy and that works brilliantly as well. So see what works for your teachers and use this in planning activities. These are actual lessons, little activities.

Okay when we look at the product, we're looking at tiered products and students get to select what kind of product they would like to produce for you. That gives a lovely sense of differentiation as well and gives them a lot more student self direction in picking what they want to do.

When you differentiate the learning environment, this just takes to you to, I suppose, whether you're going to decide to have them in flexible student groups, whether you want them to work by themselves or with mentors.  Expectations, explicit quality criteria for tasks negotiated with students. Are they going to work in flexible group environments? Learning stations, they pick their own sort of areas that they work in and how they work or a learning contract is also an interesting way to differentiate the environment that they work in.

In terms of adjustments, instructional adjustments include modelling, cognitive strategies and problem solving, levels of prompting, providing feedback, scaffolding learning through cognitively guided instruction, providing alternative opportunities for students to demonstrate learning. I think that's a big thing here. Explicit instructions and alternative representations of teaching and learning materials. So in some cases, you may need multimedia, illustrated examples, captioned video, braille, simplified texts, and different types of technology.

In terms of environmental adjustments, providing physical access, peer assistance, a buddy system, tutoring, mentoring, and use of technology in different ways for communicating. Now this information comes from a document from the [inaudible 00:16:36] website, which we've attached at the end of this presentation so you'll be able to download it and look at all the different ways that adjustments can be made for students with different learning needs.

In terms of English as a second language or dialect, we're talking about those learners whose first language is a language other than standard Australian English. They require additional support to assist them in developing language proficiency. They come from diverse backgrounds and may include overseas and Australian born students whose first language is a language other than English. It includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is Aboriginal English and those whose first language is an Indigenous language.

Now the facts. Basically with your EAL/D learners, they enter school at different ages and stages of school. They represent a significant and growing percentage of learners and for some, school is the only place they use English.

The difficulty here, and I suppose a lot of you would understand this because there is a huge population of students out there that are EAL/D learners, is simultaneously learning a new language and understanding mathematical concepts through that language makes it awfully difficult for them. So you've got ... you know, you're trying to get to groups with the language vocabulary listening, speaking, reading, writing skills and at the same time then use that language that you're not very confident in using yet, to develop a understanding of the mathematical content, the problems, the text, the language, the symbols. So it makes the task twice as difficult than the average student.

There is a fabulous document that was released. It was created by [inaudible 00:18:26] with the DEC advisors, but it's basically a document that shows all the different outcomes across youth 7-10 from the math syllabus, considerations for students, difficulty students will have, and then teaching strategies to support students in the classroom. For example, establish the formula for area of rectangles, triangles, parallelograms and use them in problem solving. The consideration here will be students have different levels of knowledge and skill and teachers needs to identify skills which need to be further developed. So using concrete materials to explain concepts helps a lot, okay, with their speaking, et cetera. And the other one that I found really helpful is diagrams. If you come down here, providing students with a word list and pictures or an illustrated glossary makes a very big difference. So they will be starting to attach formulas, diagrams, views of prisms, solids, combinations, et cetera and start to get an idea of the word matching the image and start to get their heads around it a little bit more.

Now this document goes for quite a bit. These are just little snapshots so you can get a bit of an idea. For example, describes translations, reflections in an axis, and rotations of multiples of 90 degrees on the Cartesian plane. That, in it of itself, has a lot of difficult vocabulary and it limits students understanding of a very simple task really and their task performance will show it. So teaching the vocabulary through word charts and games is a great teaching strategy in this case. So there's many strategies that they give and I found them quite useful and quite handy to use when you're programming.

As you can see here, index notation, for example, is an abstract way of representing so you've got to be very careful. Note the difference between four times two or two times four and then two to the power of four being two very different things and teaching the language four times two or two times four and then two to the power of four. So students need to learn both expressions and the variations between them and that they are two totally different things. Then comparative language is the other thing. When you're comparing fractions using equivalence or locating fractions. Comparative language is well known for being very confusing for students. Terms such as bigger, smaller, twice as big as, et cetera, three times as big as, you need to provide lists with the comparative language and pictures. So a picture like this very basic, very simple, you know, tallest, shorter, shortest and putting the vocabulary underneath will make a big difference for the students. Even if it's at the worksheet, at the bottom of the worksheet, it doesn't have to be massive, but just something there that cues in the image with the vocabulary until they get their head around it.

Your other issue is your word problems. The issue here is there are many words to describe the same functions in English language. So the operations for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division can be quite confusing when you have four or five words that mean addition or subtraction, et cetera. The other difficulty here is that it's very hard to know the mathematical operation implied from the language for students who are EAL/D learners. Very, very challenging, especially when a lot of words are interchanged, then the extra contextual information, the other information that comes in the worded problems that distracts students can actually confuse them when there is too much language involved. So students may a much greater understanding of mathematical concepts than they are able to demonstrate in a word problem and you need to be very aware of this.

With the comparative language, it's great to have it there for the kids. Put it in a table. They can see all the different terms that mean addition, subtraction, multiplication. They've got the comparative language, the polarised terms, with diagrams to help them.

Some more teaching strategies with the word problems. Again, putting the lists up. Helping them build their knowledge of terms, so all the terms a complete summary that imply the different mathematical operations. Helping students by getting them to locate and cross out irrelevant contextual information in a question would help a lot. Modelling how you find the operations in different word problems helps a lot as well. And teaching students to unpack word problems. Ask students to read the question to you and if you follow Newman's error analysis, that works beautifully as well. Tell me what the question is asking you to do. How are you going to go about finding the answer?

This is fantastic. This is the eight ways. I'm sure a lot of you have seen it before. But in terms of catering for students from an Aboriginal background this Aboriginal pedagogy framework is expressed as Eight Interconnected Pedagogies involving narrative driven learning, visualised learning processes, hands on reflective techniques, use of symbols, metaphors, land-based learning, indirect logic, modelling, scaffolding and connectedness to the community. And I've put the link there for you to go to. There's some great stuff there, so go and have a look. Basically, tell me a story, make a plan, think and do, draw it, take it outside, try a new way, watch first, then do, share it with others, it's fantastic. If you adapt some of these ideas in your activities, in your lessons, you'll find that the kids are a lot more connected.

Joining the lines, the lines actually joining up are as important themselves as the pedagogies. You've got values, you've got protocols, systems, processes. It refers to the ways of valuing, the ways of knowing, the ways of being, the ways of doing. When you engage with the Indigenous communities at this level, you truly have potential to embed a little bit more deep Indigenous perspectives. Now this comes from the eight ways wikispace that they created and it's absolutely fantastic. It's got how we learn, our culture, and these little eight points of beautiful points. We connect through the stories we share. We picture our pathways of knowledge. We see, think, act, make and share without words. We keep and share knowledge with art and objects. We work with lessons from land and nature and we put different ideas together and create new knowledge. We work from wholes to parts, watching and then doing. We bring knowledge home our mob. So just using these ideas and these thoughts with what you do when you're developing your activities and when you're designing lessons will make a big difference.

All right this is the new building capacity resources that's been released. The link is here right down at the bottom. There are a total ... there is a lesson plan, scope and sequence. I think there's almost ten different teaching resources for Stage 4 Financial Mathematics. It's great stuff. Go down ... go to this link, download your resources. It comes up in an Adobe portfolio. You will find a whole heap of stuff in there. There's QR codes, activities, there's group activities, assignments, pretests, post tests. It's massive and it's fantastic. It's got biased, finding percentages, comparative buying, unit pricing, et cetera. It's a massive set of resources. It's not live on the Australian curriculum website yet, but it will go live in the near future, any day now I think. In the meantime, you have access beforehand.

This is just a snippet of one of the worksheets that's in there. But it's beautifully made and you'll see the context of the scores. It's a virtual faculty that created it. A fantastic group of teachers and head teachers and it's a brilliant resource.

The next resource we've got for you is the Money Smart Teaching resources. You may have already of heard about them. They've been going around in schools. There is Stage 4 and Stage 5 resources for all of financial mathematic outcomes and they are also downloadable. They are on the final screen. You can go to this website as well to see more stuff and they have resources from kindy all the way to E10. We've attached Stage 4 and 9 to this professional learning session today. There's some great stuff there for you.

And the last bit is Scootle. Scootle will be going live soon and Tale will be disappearing. You'll actually find that Scootle is now a national tool for finding resources and connecting with other teachers and educators around Australia. It's absolutely brilliant. You'll be able to go in, search for different resources. You can connect with other teachers around Australia. There will be learning pathways, so stepping stones of resources you can set up for your students within our units. There's an improve button where there's assessments and tasks and testing that students and parents can use. There's a publishers area, so there will be a lot of publishers actually putting up all their new resources up there as well. Scootle is amazing and I think Chris will be talking a little more about it when he presents his two sessions on ICT, but it's got some great stuff.

There's a Scootle community so you can setup networks or groups of teachers or just tap into other teachers around Australia, discuss issues, share, collaborate. It's fantastic. There will also be a link to programme builder, so you can then hyperlink your resources from Scootle to your programmes in programme builder as well. You will be able to login with DEC sign on, but it hasn't gone live yet. You won't be able to do it just yet, but very soon. I think it will be going live, so just hold on. We will probably have a presentation soon and you'll know whether or not it's live as well.

Okay, well thank you for joining us today. I'm sorry we had a little ... a few issues at the start, but we're all good now. If you go to the final page of this screen, you'll find all the resources to download. Please fill out the evaluation on MyPI@. Let us know your thoughts. And please, by all means, email us if you want any more information or if you'd like us to answer any questions at all.

Our next session will be next Thursday. It will be based on implications and considerations for Stage 5 programmings. Hopefully you'll join us then. Have a lovely afternoon everyone and thank you again for joining us today. See you later. And Chris waves from over there too. Bye.

Return to top of page Back to top