Toward an Integrated Practice: Facilitating Peer Interactions to Support Language Development in Science

Research at Alder Research Informing Our Work Home Toward an Integrated Practice: Facilitating Peer Interactions to Support Language Development in Science. Dialogic, sense-making interactions are critical venues for language development and science learning, particularly for emergent multilingual students. Designing and facilitating such learning opportunities is pedagogically complex work and often requires significant shifts in practice. We report on a design study in which we partnered with 5th grade teachers to pilot inquiry-based science units designed for linguistically diverse classrooms. Through our analysis of classroom videos and teacher interviews, we surfaced ways teachers used the curriculum to create affordances for emergent multilingual students’ language use and development, as well as tensions and recurrent “missed affordances” that emerged in their practice.

Expanding Participation: Supporting Newcomer Students’ Language Development Through Disciplinary Practices.

Research at Alder Research Informing Our Work Home Expanding Participation: Supporting Newcomer Students’ Language Development Through Disciplinary Practices. In teaching newcomer students, educators must envision how to provide opportunities for language use and development through age-appropriate content instruction. This article describes a design research study, in which we developed and piloted 5th grade science units and studied the participation of two newcomer students in sense-making interactions with peers. By analyzing their participation over a school year, we provide a vision of newcomers’ language development that is integrated with, rather than a prerequisite for, disciplinary work. Newcomers’ language development involved expanding the interactional moves they used to participate in scientific sense-making, including moves that might be considered purely ‘social’, but were essential to collaboratively enacting disciplinary practices. In addition, their positioning in small group interactions impacted affordances for participation and language use. Over time, students shifted their positioning, which coincided with improved participation and collaborative sense-making for newcomers and their peers. We offer implications for how teachers can create integrated classrooms that support newcomers’ language development and disciplinary learning.

Supporting Emergent Bilinguals’ Reading in the Content Areas

Research at Alder Research Informing Our Work Home Supporting Emergent Bilinguals’ Reading in the Content Areas Situated in sociocultural theories of language and literacy, the authors describe an approach to teaching nonfiction text to emergent bilinguals (EBs) through the strategic use of a reading protocol. The protocol focuses on where reading text is positioned in a learning sequence and how students engage with these texts. Classroom transcripts are used to illustrate how the approach supports EBs to engage productively with nonfiction texts. The authors suggest three key considerations for supporting EBs’ productive reading of nonfiction texts. These considerations highlight the equity issues inherent in providing and scaffolding access to these texts for this group of students.

Beyond Sentence Frames: Scaffolding Emergent Multilingual Students’ Participation in Science Discourse

Research at Alder Research Informing Our Work Home Beyond Sentence Frames: Scaffolding Emergent Multilingual Students’ Participation in Science Discourse The discipline of science provides rich opportunities for language development as students engage collaboratively to investigate and make sense of compelling phenomena. Drawing from a design research study conducted in fifth grade classrooms, we describe how teachers can support emergent multilingual students’ participation in science discourse. Attempts to support emergent multilingual students in content-area discussions often emphasize the use of sentence stems and frames. However, we illustrate how an emphasis on sentence frames can interrupt students’ collaborative sense-making when students and teachers focus on language forms and correct written products rather than on the process of dialogic sense-making. To move beyond sentence frames, we use transcripts to illustrate other more generative forms of scaffolding that support emergent multilingual students’ participation in science discourse and disciplinary practices. We describe how teachers can ground discussion in hands-on investigations, leverage multiple modalities for meaning making, and engage students in moving bidirectionally between writing and talk. These forms of scaffolding center emergent multilingual students in curricular design, rather than conceptualizing scaffolds as ancillary supports provided to certain students.