Implementing Content-Based ELD in Classrooms

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Teachers who teach content-based English Language Development (ELD) apply specific strategies to succeed in their planning. This lesson focuses on how to implement content-based ELD in classrooms.

What Is Content-Based ELD?

Can you imagine an English learner who only receives academic instruction to learn the language? What about math, science, or other school subjects? English learners need both the language and the knowledge of other school subjects. Otherwise, they would stay behind. Luckily, there is content-based English Language Development (ELD). This form of instruction incorporates subject content to help students develop their skills in the English language. To understand the practical ways in which teachers implement content-based English Language Development (ELD), let's meet Susan.

How to Teach Content-Based English Language Development (ELD)

Susan teaches English learners who need to develop their skills in the English language. To develop such skills, Susan plans lessons that focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English. Susan includes components like grammar, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, etc. But Susan's work is not limited to the English language as is. Instead, Susan works together with her students' other teachers in order to plan lessons that incorporate knowledge of subjects such as math, science, social studies, language arts. This way, Susan implements content-based English Language Development (ELD) in her classrooms. This example shows how, in order to implement content-based English Language Development (ELD), teachers cooperate with each other to plan appropriate lessons. Now, let's take a look at different strategies that make implementation a success.

ELD Standards

Ideally, all ELD standards would be integrated with the overall school curriculum. In other words, ELD standards cannot be isolated. Many states in the US have already adopted frameworks that integrate ELD with the curriculum content. For example, in the state of California, the ELA/ELD Framework clearly identifies which standards are expected in English Language Arts and which standards are expected in English Language Development for each grade level. In California, both ELA and ELD are connected.

As a teacher of content-based ELD, you can always make sure that ELD standards in your school align with the curriculum content. For example, Susan teaches ELD to sixth grade students. The school curriculum includes geometry in its content and, thus, Susan makes sure that the English language of geometry is part of the ELD standards she sets for students. In other words, Susan includes geometry language as part of her ELD lesson objectives.

Selection of Meaningful Subject Matter

Different school districts have to lead their students to master specific aspects of different subject matters. This means that the relevant subjects students need to master are the subjects that ELD planning should take into account. To illustrate, Susan knows that her students must take annual tests in science, math, and reading. Thus, she prioritizes these subjects and prepares ELD lessons accordingly.

Use of Appropriate Grade-Level Content

When you plan your content-based ELD lessons, the blueprint should be the grade-level content. This way, your teaching is interdisciplinary. This, of course, requires collaboration between grade-teachers and ELD teachers so they can inform each other about the content that is relevant for each grade. For instance, Susan speaks to the sixth grade social studies teacher and learns that students are about to begin a chapter on Greek democracy as part of their Civics-Government lessons. Once Susan knows this is a specific topic for sixth grade students, she looks for appropriate material she can use in her ELD lessons, such as an article, a video-clip, a vocabulary list, etc.

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