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10 Ways to Manage Language Challenges in Content Areas

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1 10 Ways to Manage Language Challenges in Content Areas
Dr. Susan Easterbrooks Professor, GSU Dr. Nanci Scheetz Professor, VSU

2 Recall from the previous presentation on language needs that there is often a gap between the everyday communication skills of a deaf child and the language demands of the classroom (BICS-CALP gap). Your challenge is to figure out how to bridge that gap. Here are some things you need to know and do to make this happen.

3 I. Making yourself and what you are saying accessible.
Face the student at all times. S/he cannot lipread the back of your head. Make sure that there is not a light source behind you shining in the student’s eyes Speak in a normal rate. Don’t overarticulate. Don’t cover your mouth with your hands. Also, men with beards and moustaches are difficult to lipread. If calling on students in the class, give the deaf student time to locate his classmate. Often by the time the student locates his classmate, the classmate has already finished speaking.

4 II. Collaborating closely with the speech-language pathologist, teacher of the deaf, interpreter, and ESOL teacher. The SLP can… …explain to you the specific language problems this individual student is experiencing. The TOD can… …describe appropriate modifications to your materials to account for language and listening challenges and/or can co-teach with you if determined by the IEP team. If student has an interpreter… …make sure that you and the interpreter have worked out a plan for giving the student visual access to both of you. It is difficult for students to split their attention. The ESOL teacher can… …help you understand the challenges that a student exposed to spoken English, American Sign Language, and a home language is facing.

5 III. Bridging the language gap during Language Arts instruction.
The major challenge to language arts instruction is knowing at what level the student’s problems arise. Here is an example language arts objective from my state’s standards: Identifies and writes simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences A component of this is the identification of dependent and independent clauses

6 grammar that represent the ideas
At what level does the student have difficulties on this knowledge pyramid? Labels Ability to read the words and make sense Words and grammar that represent the ideas Ideas about the world World Knowledge

7 Ideas about the world. One experience can be related to another based on their time frame one thing happens first and another happens after that two unrelated things can happen at the same point in time

8 Words and grammar that represent the ideas
Before/after- one thing happens first and another happens after that Before we at lunch, we washed our hands. While- two unrelated things can happen at the same point in time While we were at the store, the cat climbed the tree.

9 Ability to read the words and make sense from them
Students with hearing loss often have reading levels below that of the rest of the class. A student may understand what you mean when you say it or sign it, but he may not understand it when it is in print. This makes reading the textbook difficult.

10 Labels The student may understand what you mean when you say or sign the sentence, and he may be able to read it when looking at the book, but he may not understand that you are providing labels to parts of sentences. He may not understand the meaning of the rules that explain the labels. dependent independent Before we leave the pool, pick up all your trash. While you are walking the dog, get the mail for me.

11 Here are the rules: An independent clause is a group of words with a subject and verb that express a complete thought. A dependent clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb that do not express a complete thought. The clause usually begins with a subordinator (while, during, since, etc.)

12 How would you explain to a student what “a complete thought” is?
Nothing is missing? It “sounds” right? It makes “sense”? These are all abstract. Herein lies the main challenge to teaching language arts to students with hearing loss. If your student has problems with the first two levels (concepts and language to represent the concepts), then the teacher of the deaf should work with him or her to develop these.

13 If your student has problems with reading the textbook, you can
Read the sentence to the student Ask the interpreter to interpret the sentence Allow a buddy to read the sentence to the student If your student does not understand the idea that underlies the rule for a label (e.g., a complete thought), then you must become very creative in determining how to explain it. Collaborate with your fellow teachers to develop a plan. If your deaf student doesn’t understand the rule, then many of your other students are also not understanding it.

14 IV. Bridging the language gap during literacy instruction.
Kyle, F.E., & Harris, M. (2006). Concurrent correlates and predictors of reading and spelling achievement in deaf and hearing school children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 11(3), Kelly, L. (1996). The interaction of syntactic competence and vocabulary during reading by deaf students. JDSDE, 1(1), Vocabulary is a predictor of reading ability. Vocabulary is necessary, but it is not sufficient to move reading past early levels. Comprehension of grammar is also required. If your student has problems at the first two levels of the pyramid with vocabulary and grammar, the teacher of the deaf should work with her to help her increase vocabulary and grammar. We address vocabulary and grammar instruction in later presentations.

15 Suggestions Co-teach reading instruction with a teacher of the deaf
Work at the student’s instructional reading level, not in the grade-level reading program Provide extra time reading to the student Use high interest, vocabulary or grammar-controlled materials as a part of your program, not as a complete program Give student extra opportunities to read at his independent reading level Use shared reading Teacher reads/explains more difficult passages Scaffolds passages that student will read Paraphrase/rewrite materials Many textbooks now have companion readers/study guides developed specifically as content area reading supplements. These are often ordered by schools for the ELL students. Check. It will save you a lot of time and work!

16 Allow the student to view text to ASL renderings of stories
Sundance/Newbridge accessible texts Note: many phone representatives are not aware of the DVDs. Be sure to ask specifically. Gallaudet’s Shared Reading stories

17 V. Bridging the language gap during math instruction.
Previous research has identified some contributing factors to deaf students' difficulty in solving mathematics problems. Some of these factors include metacognitive skills, impulsivity, literacy and linguistic difficulty (Mousley & Kelly, 1998). Students with hearing loss usually are able to master computation skills, but they struggle with word problems. The greater the gap between their language and reading and the language/reading demands of the class, the more they will struggle.

18 Pre-teach vocabulary and concepts associated with upcoming instruction in collaboration with TOD.
Use good technology Using a digital white board, teachers can model strategies while student maintain eye contact with content and presenter. Color highlighting can be used to identify important information as well as other annotations to demonstrate thinking. Model problems are saved in the white board software so they can be reviewed another time.

19 Try a variety of strategies
Guess-and-check Draw a picture Solve a simpler problem Act it out Look for patterns Work backwards Conduct an experiment

20 Use a problem-solving strategy to teach math
Step 1: Identify the problem Step 2: Select a solution path Step 3: Carry out the plan Step 4: Check the answer Step 5: REFLECT

21 VI. Bridging the language gap during content area instruction.
Language and literacy skills needed in content areas Identifying the main idea Locating facts and specific details Organizing material mentally Vocabulary comprehension Adjusting Reading Rate & Focus Summarizing

22 Collaboration with the TOD is essential in determining
Key vocabulary for student to focus on Key concepts teacher will require student to know Alternatives for assessment

23 Quite often general education teachers will write questions that exceed the deaf student’s language and literacy abilities, even though the student understands the information being assessed. E.g. “Who was the earliest recorded California earthquake felt by, and when and where was it felt?” This question is difficult because it has multiple parts and it uses passive voice construction.

24 Rules of thumb for rewriting questions
Always use active tense, even if you have to use the words “Someone” or “something”. This may require you to give information up front and then to ask a simpler question. Someone felt the first earthquake recorded in California. Who was it? Break multiple part questions into separate questions. Who felt the earliest recorded earthquake in California? When did this happen? Where did this happen?

25 VII. Bridging the language gap during content area reading.
According to the Gallaudet Research Institute, the median reading level of high school graduates who are deaf is around 4th grade. This means that half read above that level, but the other half read below. Implication: many students with hearing loss will have a significant gap between their reading comprehension level and the reading demands of textbooks and test materials. Your challenge: to bridge this gap

26 Identifying the main idea Locating facts and specific details
Students need the following literacy strategies to read content area material: Identifying the main idea Locating facts and specific details Organizing material Vocabulary comprehension Predicting Restating

27 Suggestions Heavy use of visual organizers
Preteach vocabulary and concepts Identifying key vocabulary and key concepts for which student will be held accountable (be clear on expectations) Teach strategies for approaching textbooks Co-teach with the teacher of the deaf

28 Teach student reading comprehension strategies
Teach student reading comprehension strategies. (We will talk about these in greater detail in a later presentation.) Before Reading • Building Vocabulary • Activating Prior Knowledge • Setting a Purpose • Previewing • Brainstorming • Predicting • During Reading • Scanning • Visualizing • Context Clues • Inferring • Questioning • Clarifying • After Reading • Summarizing • Drawing Conclusions • Reflecting • Critical Thinking • Review • Synthesis • Writing to Learn •

29 Use a variety of techniques
Think-pair-share SQ3R Summarizing Story maps Underlining Reading end of chapter questions first

30 VIII. Dealing with specialized vocabulary
In American Sign Language, there are approximately 3500 to 5500 signs. Insufficient for higher grade or technical terminology Need a strategy for agreeing on how to create signs for classroom only purposes

31 If at all possible, don’t create signs. Fingerspell instead.
Call your state’s school for the deaf and speak with a content area specialist. Ask what sign they use. Consult various technical sign manuals and CDs. Use online sources e.g., signs for computational science

32 Step 1: Content area teacher describes concept clearly to interpreter and TOD so everyone understands the real intent behind the word e.g. Exothermic “pertaining to a chemical change that is accompanied by a liberation of heat” Step 2: Choose an iconic representation of the word rather than initializing a similar word -Sign “chemical + change->hot” As right hand moves to final position of “change”, sign “hot” from this position The Deaf community invents signs all the time, but those signs stay where they were invented. Do not institutionalize the use of an invented sign. Be sure that the student knows that other Deaf individuals may not understand the invented sign. How to create signs Remember:

33 IX. Bridging the language gap during testing.
Often students with hearing loss are unable to answer questions because they do not understand the language concepts associated with classroom testing.

34 X. Knowing when the gap is too large to bridge.
Sometimes the student’s language gap is so large that it does him a disservice to be in the general education classroom. In this case the IEP team needs to revisit the student’s placement.

35 How do we decide this? Are all possible supports in place to assure that the student can make appropriate progress? What is an appropriate education? According to Rowley v Board of Education, an appropriate education is one in which a child can successfully pass from one grade level to the next with a C average. Is the student making appropriate progress with the current level of supports?

36 Is the g a p between the student’s current language and literacy skills wider than two years below current placement? If so, the IEP team needs to determine if all supports available are sufficient to bridge this gap. If not, then reconsider placement.

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