ScaffoldingInstructionForELLs.pdf - Scaffolding Instruction...

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Scaffolding Instruction for English Language Learners: A Conceptual Framework ´ da Walqui Teacher Professional Development Program, West Ed, USA Adolescent students learning academic subject matter in a new language face a number of challenges, both local and global in nature, as they negotiate the linguistic, academic and social world of schooling. Making a case for a pedagogy of rigour and hope, the author presents a model of scaffolding that emphasises the interactive social nature of learning and the contingent, collaborative nature of support and development. Drawing on Sociocultural Theory, as well as a large body of empirical research on effective practices with second language learners, the author examines the use of specific types of scaffolding to promote linguistic and academic develop- ment. The model, developed by the author, conceives of scaffolding as both structure and process, weaving together several levels of pedagogical support, from macro- level planning of curricula over time to micro-level moment-to-moment scaffolding and the contingent variation of support responsive to interactions as they unfold. Keywords: second language learners, English Language Learners, scaffolding, sociocultural theory The linguistic landscape of American schools is changing rapidly. In the decade between 1992 and 2002, the enrolment of English Language Learners (ELLs) grew by 84% while the total K-12 population grew by only 10%. ELLs are no longer exclusively new immigrants to the USA. In middle and high schools, 57% of them represent the second or third generation of immigrants to the USA (Batalova & Fix, 2005). Although these adolescents have been educated exclusively in US schools, they are still learning English, failing academically and dropping out of school in large numbers (Fry, 2003; Ruiz de Velasco & Fix, 2000). There is an urgent need to turn around this situation. In this paper I present a pedagogy of rigour and hope. I maintain that it is possible for second language learners to develop deep disciplinary knowledge and engage in challenging academic activities if teachers know how to support them pedagogically to achieve their potential. While the focus of the paper is on secondary English Language Learners learning via the medium of English, the ideas presented here also apply to elementary schooling and to the teaching of academic courses in students’ native languages. Education never takes place in a vacuum but is deeply embedded in a sociocultural milieu. Thus learning is a matter not only of cognitive development but also of shared social practices. The cognitive and the social go hand in hand in classroom learning. The primary process by which learning takes place is interaction , more specifically, an engagement with other learners 1367-0050/06/02 159-22 $20.00/0 2006 A. Walqui The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism Vol. 9, No. 2, 2006 159
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and teachers in joint activities that focus on matters of shared interest and that contain opportunities for learning.
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