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Vocabulary acquisition and ELLs

Though many ELLs have proficient conversational vocabulary, they often still lack specific academic vocabulary needed for achievement. The 5R model provides a research-based strategy for enhancing academic language development.
by

Cassie Brooks

on 3 August 2013

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Transcript of Vocabulary acquisition and ELLs

From Roots to Fruit: How Can We Increase Vocabulary Acquisition with ELLs?
Who are ELLs? ELLs are English Language Learners.
ELLs may include students that are considered as no English proficiency (NEP), limited English proficiency (LEP), and fluent English proficiency (FEP). Their proficiency is often in basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS), or conversational skills, only. Regardless of their proficiency, they are all considered English language learners that are entitled to explicit, culturally related instruction. Most importantly their first language (L1) must be supported and used strategically to teach difficult concepts, such as cognitive/academic language proficiency (CALP), or content specific vocabulary.
What should our goal be? Our goal is to increase vocabulary acquisition and achievement in ELLs through research-based strategies. We will look specifically at the 5R model for enhancing academic development in ELLs.
The steps of the 5R model include:
REPLACING social (BIC) language with academic language during oral and written activities and reminding students to continue to use them. (Ex. glasses to goggles)
REVEALING words within the context of a lesson that have no corresponding common word. (Ex. congruent)
REPEATING new and important words throughout lessons and other content. Emphasis should be placed on the word during repetition.
REPOSITIONING/REPHRASING student talk with teacher talk or science talk during oral and written language. (Ex. T= What is happening in the picture? S= The butterflies are changing. T= What is the name for changing? S= Metamorphosis
RELOADING previously learned words by interacting with the word in new ways. (Ex. drawing attention to funny pronunciations, homophones, multiple meanings, root words, etc.)
Why do the FEP English learners still need explicit vocabulary instruction?
The answer to this is at the core of why many diverse learners continue to perform lower than their peers, especially in content-specific subjects and standardized-tests. Remember, there is a distinct difference between conversational language and academic language. Yet, when our ELLs are considered fluent in English we reduce the amount of one-to-one instruction, specific strategies, and interventions. Though sufficient BICS transfer may have occurred to converse and operate within context embedded communication/curriculum (facial cues, gestures), there has NOT been sufficient transfer within CALP.
Administer pre-tests of specific content vocabulary to be learned. Assess vocabulary in isolation and within content-specific text. Teach vocabulary with usual strategies but without using the 5R model and administer post-tests at the end of the week/unit.
Continue this process for the first 6 weeks. Why? It is important to have achievement and comprehension data to compare with the 5R model.
Analyze the data with the school interpreter, ELL interventionists, data team, diversity committee, classroom teachers, and ELL parents. Form a committee of experts from this meeting.
Phase 2: Implementation- 2nd 6 weeks
Implement the 5R model in regular and special education classes, intervention groups, and Extended Day programs.
Follow the same pre-tests/post-tests protocol as the first six weeks but with explicit vocabulary instruction through the 5R model. In addition, to any new vocabulary, review and retest prior vocabulary.
Follow the same data analysis procedures as the first six weeks and compare the data for growth, vocabulary acquisition and transfer, and achievement.
NOTE: It is important to allow ELLs to work in groups together to use their first language when they are learning specific content concepts and problem-solving, so they can focus on understanding the content and vocabulary.
Results -
What's Next?
Analyze and evaluate the effects, growth, achievement, vocabulary acquisition, and content comprehension as a result of full implementation of the 5R model within the school and community.
Meet with teachers, administrators, parents and community members to administer surveys and facilitate discussions about their perceptions, experiences, and opinions.
Continue with ongoing professional development that addresses researched-based practices for ELL instruction.
The 5R model is rooted in the sociocultural constructivist learning theories of Piaget and Vygotsky that suggested how interactions with the world and the various factors that influence students affect cognitive growth. ELLs must be immersed in dialogue and vocabulary to transfer language mapping skills. The 5R model was developed for use in scientific inquiry; however the fundamental premiss can build any academic vocabulary, as well as expand vocabulary in general. Additionally, it can be used effectively for vocabulary instruction with all students.
Why is this important? Vocabulary size is a major contributor to reading comprehension and achievement. We are under-servicing our ELLs because we expect them to be able to transfer knowledge from their first language to a second language (L2) while constructing specific content.
Now that we know the root of the need to address this issue, how can we use the 5R model to address the diverse needs of ELLs and facilitate growth in their academic achievement?
Phase 1:Implementation-
1st 6 weeks
SPROUTING
BLOOMING
Phase 3: Implementatation- Take it to the community
Meet with stakeholders- ELL parents, community members, and directors of after school programs and day cares within the community to present the research on vocabulary transfer and acquisition, the 5R model, and data results.
Offer training to stakeholders through the expert committee that was formed.
Expert committee members go into the community training and working with students, parents, community programs, and day cares.
Watering and providing needs
for growth.
Roots
At the core

The Fruits of our
Labors

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Proverbs 25:11
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