District takes new ap­proach to English

North Penn Life - - Obituaries - By Jen­nifer Law­son jlaw­son@jour­nalregis­ter.com

There are more than 50 na­tive lan­guages spo­ken among stu­dents in the North Penn School District, and this lan­guage di­ver­sity has been slowly ex­pand­ing over the years.

The most com­mon nonEnglish na­tive lan­guages are Ara­bic, Ben­gali, Chi­nese, Gu­jarati, Korean, Span­ish and Viet­namese, ac­cord­ing WR 0DULOyQ LRHIflHU, FRRUGL­na­tor of English as a Sec­ond Lan­guage and Shel­tered In­struc­tion and Ob­ser­va­tion Pro­to­col.

Some lan­guages are so ob­scure, they’re spo­ken by only one or two stu­dents.

“There are many, many di­alects within the con­ti­nent of Africa, and many within ,QGLD DV ZHOO,” LRHIflHU VDLG.

Fam­i­lies em­i­grate to the North Penn area for a va­ri­ety RI UHDVRQV, LRHIflHU VDLG, LQ­clud­ing bet­ter ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties and med­i­cal care.

The district will also get an LQflu[ RI VWuGHQWV IURP FHUWDLQ ar­eas de­pend­ing on what’s hap­pen­ing in the world.

“For ex­am­ple, when Egypt was go­ing through un­rest in the past few years, we saw an in­crease in stu­dents from Egypt,” said Donna DeTom­maso-Klein­ert, a 29-year veteran of the district who cur­rently teaches at Pen­ndale Mid­dle School.

Not only do stu­dents need in­struc­tion in learn­ing English, they also must be able to un­der­stand their main­stream con­tent cour­ses, such as sci­ence and so­cial stud­ies, which is of­ten a big­ger chalOHQJH, LRHIflHU VDLG.

As a re­sult of a $1.7 mil­lion Key­stones to Op­por­tu­ni­ties grant, the district is ex­pand­ing its prac­tice of Shel­tered In­struc­tion Ob­ser­va­tion Pro­to­col, which is a frame­work for plan­ning and de­liv­er­ing in­struc­tion in con­tent ar­eas to non-na­tive English speak­ers.

Last sum­mer, 30 teach­ers — both ESL as well as con­tent teach­ers — were trained in SIOP.

Due to the pop­u­lar­ity of this ap­proach to teach­ing, an­other 60 teach­ers will be trained this sum­mer.

The prin­ci­ple be­hind SIOP is lan­guage is gained faster while learn­ing con­tent, be­cause the lan­guage is placed in con­text and used in mean­ing­ful ways.

Us­ing a plan­ning frame­work, teach­ers mod­ify the way they teach so the lan­guage they use to ex­plain con­cepts and in­for­ma­tion is com­pre­hen­si­ble to non-na­tive English speak­ers.

“By shel­ter­ing, it’s shel­ter­ing them from fail­ure,” Lo­ef­flHU VDLG. “,W’V JLYLQJ WKHP WKH skills they need to un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing in their con­tent class­room. Read­ing and writ­ing isn’t just used in read­ing and writ­ing classes. It’s tak­ing th­ese skills an English teacher uses and bring­ing it across the board.”

A teacher that uses SIOP has more in­ter­ac­tion with WKH VWuGHQWV, LRHIflHU VDLG, not­ing that sit­ting back and lis­ten­ing is not an ef­fec­tive way to de­velop lan­guage.

For ex­am­ple, a teacher might ask the stu­dents to look at the per­son next to them and ex­plain a con­cept.

“A key con­cept of SIOP is the phrase, ‘You need to ver­bal­ize to in­ter­nal­ize.’ If you can ver­bal­ize it, say it, ex­plain it, it’s part of your be­ing. If you can’t ex­plain it, you’re never go­ing to be able to get it.”

A teacher who prac­tices SIOP will have clearly de­fiQHG REMHFWLYHV IRU HYHUy les­son, DeTom­maso-Klein­ert said.

Then the teacher will “put scaf­fold­ing in place,” such as pro­vid­ing back­ground in­for­ma­tion, show­ing pic­tures and graphs.

Stu­dents will of­ten work in small groups, as well as in­de­pen­dently.

SIOP meth­ods aren’t just for non-na­tive English speak­ers — they can be used in all class­rooms.

“We’ve seen a lot of success xwith SIOP] across the board,” DeTom­maso-Klein­ert said.

Non-na­tive English speak­ers are in ESL classes for three or four years, on averDJH, LRHIflHU VDLG.

To test out, they must pass a state exam demon­strat­ing (QJOLVK fluHQFy.

North Penn School District stu­dents will be tak­ing the test from Jan. 28 through March 1.

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