Scaffolding Language Scaffolding Learning.

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Call me a Professor Pauline Gibbons fan but this is another one of her books that is full of practical advice, strategies and approaches to teaching EAL learners in the mainstream classroom. Scaffolding Language Scaffolding Learning. Teaching Second Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom is a fantastic book and well worth the money. You can order it from Amazon by clicking on this link.

If you have EAL learners in your classroom and you are looking to develop your teaching of them then you should have at least one of Professor Gibbons’ books in your library.

With a forward written by no less than Jim Cummins you will not be disappointed with the tips and ideas you will get from reading this EAL classic.

Chapter headings include:

  • Scaffolding Language and Learning
  • Classroom Talk
  • From Speaking to Writing in the Content Classroom
  • Reading in a Second Language
  • Learning Language: Learning through Language, and Learning About Language: Developing an Integrated Curriculum

As well as the chapter titles above there is a glossary of teaching activities that are discussed throughout the book. All of these strategies are strategies that could be used in content classrooms and are suitable for all levels of EAL learner from beginner through to advanced. Many of the classroom strategies on my Classroom strategies page are taken from the books of Professor Gibbons and I have found all of the classroom strategies that you find in her books highly effective in supporting both EAL and Non EAL learners in their development of language in the content classroom.

Chapter 3, which discusses The Mode Continuum, has been a great tool for myself in supporting my EAL learners develop their understanding of how language changes according to the mode they use to communicate and how language changes from spoken in to more written like forms. This chapter also highlights the ‘genre’ approach to teaching writing which is a fundamental part of improving our EAL learners ability to communicate content. The chapter also includes a table of some of the more common genres used in schools and the specific language features that are typical of specific genres. Towards the end of the chapter Professor Gibbons shows you a framework of how you can assess an EAL learners’ writing looking mainly at language as opposed to content. It is vital that EAL learners writing is assessed according to language as much as content to show how we can support them in becoming better writers. The framework in this chapter can help you with that.

Chapter 5 ‘Reading in a Second Language’ discusses the different roles that successful readers take when they tackle more complex academic readings. These roles include: reader as code breaker, reader as text participant and reader as text analyst. As with many of the other chapters it ends with a number of activities that we can use to support our EAL learners in becoming more effective readers.

These are but two of the chapters and many of the other chapters follow a similar format in that Professor Gibbons outlines approaches to supporting EAL learners and then provides a list of practical activities that can help to develop your EAL learners skills in particular areas of language development.

I highly recommend buying this book if you teach EAL learners as it has really helped to sharpen my own classroom practice in delivering more effective lessons.

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