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Based upon a review of scholarly articles relating to ESL or Bilingual learning, write a reflective essay on the educational significance of these readings and how you would incorporate them into your teaching practice. Your paper can be divided as follows: a) describe five challenges ELLs face that were addressed by the articles, including sources and examples b) discuss how these challenges might impact language proficiency and if these articles agree on these issues c) relate possible solutions to these challenges you might adopt in your own classroom of ELLs and why you believe them to be appropriate (implications for instruction).
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ell_k_3article.pdf

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ell_whenyoudontspeak.pdf

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171
BOOST I NG
L A NGUAGE
SK I LLS OF
ENGLISH
LE A R N ER S
T H ROUGH
DR A M AT I Z AT ION A N D
MOV EM EN T
Christa Mulker Greenfader

Liane Brouillette
How can K–2 teachers foster the language development of students who
have limited English backgrounds? This article explores using performing
arts activities to boost the oral language skills of English learners.
D
epending on where you look, the city of
San Diego can appear to be either the
quintessential American city—home
of Sea World and the San Diego Zoo—
or an exotic Pacific Rim locale where the first day
of school often resembles a family-oriented version of the United Nations. Parents say goodbye
in a dozen languages. Kindergarteners stare at
teachers in shy silence. What comes next? Each kindergartener walks in the door with five years of
The Reading Teacher
Vol. 67
Issue 3
pp. 171–180
life to offer: experiences, abilities, and dreams. But
how do teachers tap into these funds of knowledge
when, during these first days of school, there is no
Christa Mulker Greenfader is a doctoral student in educational policy
and social context in the School of Education at the University of Irvine,
California, USA; e-mail cmulker@uci.edu.
Liane Brouillette is an associate professor in the School of Education
and codirector of the Center for Learning in the Arts, Sciences, and
Sustainability at the University of Irvine; email lbrouill@uci.edu.
DOI:10.1002/TRTR.1192
© 2013 International Reading Association
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B O O S T I NG L A NG UAG E SK I LL S OF E NG L I S H LE A R N E R S T H ROUG H DR A M AT I Z AT ION A N D MOV E M E N T
common tongue that all in the classroom share?
Nationwide, the number of schoolaged English learners (ELs) is growing
rapidly. Between the 1997–1998 and
2008–2009 school years, this segment
of the school-aged population increased
by 51% (National Clearinghouse for
English Language Acquisition, 2010).
Currently, nearly 70% of ELs read at a
below basic level (National Assessment
of Educational Progress, 2011), performing 20 to 50 percentage points below
native speakers (Menken, 2010). This
problem is especially acute in California;
one in four California kindergarteners
speaks a language other than English
at home (Education Data Partnership,
2010). Yet many teachers in the primary
grades have not received adequate preparation for teaching students who have
little knowledge of English.
In Southeastern San Diego, where
ELs form a majority of new students,
many teachers are becoming adept at
using arts-based teaching methods as
one way to overcome language barriers.
Using drama and dance lessons designed
to address the oral language segment of
Pause and Ponder




Are you able to work daily oral language
practice into your classroom schedule?
What techniques do you use to engage the
English learners in your classroom?
Are there times when children tend to get
restless, when acting out a brief scene
from a story might provide a chance to
physicalize action and practice speaking?
How might drama and/or creative
movement activities enrich your morning
literacy block?
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The Reading Teacher
Vol. 67
Issue 3
English Language Development (ELD)
standards, the Teaching Artist Project
(TAP) affords students the opportunity
to practice speaking
and listening skills
in a comfortable and
fun environment.
This article describes
the teaching strategies used in TAP
and highlights findings from a research
study that found TAP
to boost the oral language skills of young
ELs, providing evidence that creative
arts activities can
provide valuable
opportunities for ELs to develop foundational literacy skills.
Conceptual Framework
Research supports the pivotal importance of oral practice to English
language development (Fillmore &
Snow, 2000). Oral language has been
linked to future reading ability, academic success, and social dispositions
(Spira, Bracken, & Fischel, 2005). Storch
and Whitehurst (2002) presented a
useful framework that highlights key
components of oral language: semantic knowledge (vocabulary), syntactic
knowledge (structural and grammatical rules), conceptual knowledge (topic
understanding), and narrative discourse
(story construction and/or recall). This
comprehensive model, which includes
both mechanical and cognitive elements, suggests why oral language is
a critical foundational literacy skill.
Furthermore, beyond the vocabulary
and comprehension levels of oral language, there is a social dimension that
promotes a higher level of communication, aiding comprehension.
November 2013
Oral practice in the classroom serves
both students and teachers, affording students the
opportunity to
learn and demonstrate language
skills and providing teachers a
means of gauging
student vocabulary,
syntactic skills,
and comprehension. Monolingual
learners benefit
from oral language
practice; ELs need
such practice even
more (Castro,
Páez, Dickinson,
& Frede, 2011)
because they have limited opportunities to use English at home and therefore
rely on classroom experiences.
As evidenced by state ELD standards,
practitioners and researchers acknowledge the importance of oral language
instruction; however, many teachers receive little training in using this
resource during certification programs.
Verbal interactions in the classroom
have waned in the face of pressure to
prepare students for written tests. Many
teachers feel—and are, in fact—underprepared to address the needs of EL
students (Téllez & Waxman, 2006).
In the past decade, many U.S. classrooms have replaced oral language
practice with large blocks of reading
instruction. In a study of San Diego’s literacy reforms, Bitter, O’Day, Gubbins,
and Socias (2009) determined that
verbal interaction was limited, even
in the district’s “balanced literacy”
program. The design of the program
emphasized the employment of accountable talk, an interactive learning strategy
designed to foster student-led discussion and help students draw meaningful
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B O O S T I NG L A NG UAG E SK I LL S OF E NG L I S H LE A R N E R S T H ROUG H DR A M AT I Z AT ION A N D MOV E M E N T
connections between text and prior
knowledge.
Researchers found, however, that
in practice it was primarily the teacher,
not the students, who directed this talk.
Students did not engage in interactive
dialogue with one another; instead, they
responded directly to the teacher with
little elaboration. The study revealed
that reading instruction accounted for
87.3% of literacy instruction segments,
with an average of 11.6% of the remaining segments focused on composition
and writing. This left little time (1.1%)
for oral language instruction, phonics,
and so forth.
Nationwide, other content areas
that provide oral language opportunities have faced dramatic cutbacks.
Since 2007, almost 71% of U.S. schools
have reduced—or eliminated—instruction time in such subjects as arts, music,
history, and foreign language (Grey,
2009). The arts can expand opportunities for verbal interaction by promoting
interactive and engaging learning environments, which allow ELs to feel
comfortable practicing oral language
skills (Castro, Páez, Dickinson, & Frede,
2011).
For the purposes of this article, we
use the terms arts activities and the arts to
refer to the performing arts disciplines of
drama/theatre and creative movement/
dance. Such structured arts activities
can offer rich opportunities for students
to hone important early literacy skills.
By integrating movement and gesture
with vocabulary lessons, plot discussions, and dialogue, teachers facilitate
the development of students’ semantic and conceptual knowledge, as well
as narrative discourse. Additionally, the
timing and structure inherent in drama
and dance may help students’ syntactic understanding; rhythm is a predictor
of future reading abilities (Huss, Verney,
Fosker, Mead, & Goswami, 2011).
“Dramatization helps students better
understand the plot and the feelings of the
characters, even if they do not initially
comprehend all of the words.”
Dramatic play and creative movement come naturally to young children
and serve a crucial role in their construction of meaning (Piaget, 1962).
Children possess a sense of dramatic
narrative they can put to use in classroom arts lessons by acting out stories or
discussing plot, character, and themes.
This is especially valuable for ELs as
it allows them to inject their own cultural understanding into the story, using
other modes of communication to take
part in a meaningful dialogue despite a
limited English vocabulary. In a study
of drama in multilingual classrooms,
Medina and Campano (2006) discovered
that “through teatro, the students found
a safe space to fictionalize reality and
enact more empowering individual and
collective representations from which
others might learn” (p. 333).
When children improvise scenes
from stories, they immediately
bring their own experiences to bear.
Dramatization helps students better
understand the plot and the feelings of
the characters, even if they do not initially comprehend all of the words.
Mages (2006) proposed a causal model
to explain the impact that creative
drama has been shown to have on literacy and language development. By
using their bodies and voices to dramatize the characters’ words and actions,
children gain a sense of how interactions among the characters shaped the
events described in the story. “In this
way they can touch, see, and experience
the meaning of the words in the text”
(Mages, 2006, p. 335).
As children continue to dramatize
stories, they may build a stronger and
more direct pathway from the decontextualized language on the page to
comprehension of what the words mean.
As Harris (2000) explained: “the role
player projects him- or herself into the
make-believe situation faced by the
protagonist” (p. 36). Having fed the
make-believe situation into their own
knowledge base, children arrive at feelings and utterances appropriate for that
role. By fully engaging their imaginations, children may increase their ability
to mentally simulate the events, characters, and nuances of a story. Eventually,
as the children become better able
to project themselves into the makebelieve world of the story, they may
reach a point where dramatization
may no longer be needed to facilitate
comprehension.
Teaching Artist Project
TAP is a 2-year, K–2 arts and literacy
program that has been implemented in
30 San Diego schools serving neighborhoods with large populations of ELs.
Funding for TAP currently comes from
a U.S. Department of Education Arts
in Education Model Development and
Dissemination grant. TAP integrates
ELD concepts with drama and dance
through weekly collaborations between
teaching artists and classroom teachers. The objective of TAP is two-fold: to
provide K–2 teachers with professional
development that enables them to stimulate engaging verbal interactions in the
classroom, and to bring standards-based
www.reading.org
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B O O S T I NG L A NG UAG E SK I LL S OF E NG L I S H LE A R N E R S T H ROUG H DR A M AT I Z AT ION A N D MOV E M E N T
arts instruction into schools where it has
been all but eliminated in the primary
grades. Our discussion focuses on the
K–1 segment of the program as it has
thus far been shown to have the greatest
impact on student achievement.
In San Diego, TAP employs a
coaching model during the first year,
providing teachers an opportunity to
co-teach with a teaching artist in their
own classrooms. Together, the teacher
and the teaching artist implement a
prepared, 50-minute lesson, consisting
of arts activities designed to meet both
the Visual and Performing Arts and
the ELD standards. Teachers outside
San Diego can access a “virtual coach”
by making use of the TAP curricular materials online. Lesson plans for
dance and theatre, including streaming videos of teaching artists modeling
the activities in actual classrooms, are
available free of charge.
Over time, teachers become comfortable using interactive arts lessons
to offer ELs engaging opportunities
to practice oral language and rehearse
vocabulary. In the second year, the
San Diego teachers implement the lessons on their own, with support from
district resource teachers. The online
lesson plans and videos of the first
nine lessons are available to remind
teachers of lesson details, providing
novice teachers with an easily accessible resource.
And, Action!
Let’s take a look at a TAP lesson in
progress:
“Actors, five point position, please!”
The kindergartners jump to attention,
standing with hands at their sides, heads
high, feet together. Most of the children have limited English skills, yet they
follow along easily because their teacher
demonstrates as he speaks. “I am going
to read a story about a bear hunt. There
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The Reading Teacher
Vol. 67
Issue 3
are lots of sounds
we can make to tell
the story. I need you
to help me create
some sounds for
setting the story.
But first let’s practice making some
sound effects of our
own.” He begins
patting his legs
gently to represent
a light rain; then he
pats more strongly
for heavy rain. He
asks the students to
mimic him. Twenty
pairs of hands pat their legs, creating a
rainstorm in the classroom.
Now it is time for the bear hunt.
In a soft voice the teacher begins,
“Going on a bear hunt”; then he
switches to a loud voice, “going to catch
a big one!” The students mimic his
words and dynamics. As they continue
with the poem, he shows the students
how to insert their own sounds to create
the “setting”: squishy grass, gooey mud,
tall trees, a deep river, and dark cave.
These activities are simple, yet
engaging; they provide ELs with a rich
opportunity for vocabulary development. Such lessons complement what
many teachers are already doing in their
classrooms. “[TAP] is so connected to all
the literacy stuff we do… It’s really just
one thing. So, I think that’s really helpful for our English learners,” observed
one first-grade teacher. Furthermore,
certain TAP concepts are closely related
to the K–2 English Language Arts (ELA)
Common Core State Standards, specifically to Speaking and Listening. The
first ELA Speaking and Listening standard for each of these grade levels is for
students “to participate in collaborative
conversations with diverse partners…
with peers and adults in small and
November 2013
larger groups” (National Governors
Association Center for Best Practices &
Council of Chief State School Officers,
2010). Through dramatization and
movement, students engage in call-andresponse communications with each
other and their teacher(s).
Arts lessons also provide students with the opportunity to practice
pronunciation, tone, and gesture, helping them learn to “speak audibly and
express thoughts, feelings, and ideas
clearly” (a Common Core Standard
for kindergarteners). One TAP lesson
focuses on voice projection. As a teacher
noted, “we talked about voice projection, and I still use that. Well, I call it
‘loud and proud’… So I would bring
that into my lessons when we’re having
a discussion, and I’ll be like, ‘okay
Michelle, I’m going to call on you, give
it to me loud and proud.’” Another
teacher added:
In theatre, a lot of the vocabulary words
were using your imagination, using
expressions. So that kind of lent itself
to when you read a book and there’s
an exclamation mark. You’re not going
to read it like you’re normally talking.
You’re going to read like you’re excited
because you’re going to the park or
swimming. So, let’s change your voice.
In Goldilocks, when she saw the bears,
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she didn’t say “oh, my,” she said “Oh,
My!”
Yet, many teachers do not use artsbased activities as strategies to teach
standards. A 40-year veteran teacher
commented, “I never thought of arts as
standards-based. I never even thought
about what it was you were supposed
to teach in arts!” Video demonstrations
by teaching artists and TAP curricular materials illustrate how the arts are
not only fun and engaging activities,
but also effective instructional tools for
addressing standards.
TAP Works!
A mixed-methods study, consisting
of standardized tests, interviews, and
focus groups, was conducted to determine the impact of TAP on the early
literacy skills of ELs. (Please see the
appendix for a description of the
research). We discovered that TAP had
a significant positive impact on the
oral language skills of K–1 ELs, especially at the kindergarten level. This is
noteworthy, considering the consensus
among researchers on the strong connection between early oral language
abilities and future literacy. This evidence justifies teachers acting on what
many intuitively sense: oral language
is important. When early elementary teachers integrate arts lessons that
emphasize oral language, children build
an enhanced foundation for literacy.
“We discovered
that TAP had a
significant positive
impact on the oral
language skills.”
“It’s the kinesthetic piece… ELL students are
hearing it. They’re doing it. They are understanding
it. It’s huge… This is how people learn.”
To get a close-up look at what was
happening in classrooms, five schoollevel focus groups (with 16 veteran
teachers) were carried out in 20102011. The majority of teachers found
that the TAP lessons were beneficial and cited improvement in literacy
skills, comfort levels, and engagement of all students, especially ELs.
One teacher commented, “…the children who had been in kindergarten
last year, and are now my first graders,
moved two levels [on the CELDT]. Two
full levels!”
The interviews revealed that the
student gains from TAP were noticed
by teachers in all grades. In addition,
although teachers indicated that ELs had
benefited most from TAP, they affirmed
that native English speakers also had
profited from TAP lessons.
Discussion
In the following section, we explore
teacher perceptions shared during
interviews and focus groups concerning why TAP had a significant effect.
Interestingly, teachers described both
direct and indirect impacts the arts
activities had on participating students.
At the individual-level, teachers credited multisensory activity (i.e., pairing
gesture and language), rhythm and syllable practice, and student engagement
as having a direct impact on children’s
language skills.
Beyond this, many teachers indicated
that TAP initiated a shift in the classroom climate that transferred outside
of the arts lessons. In their interviews,
teachers commented that the arts activities created a comfortable environment
for student participation and collaboration; this helped with behavioral issues
such as children keeping their hands to
themselves.
Student Impacts
In accordance with the conceptual
framework put forward by Mages
(2006), a majority of teachers attributed
the enhanced English language development to students “physicalizing”
the language. They stated that movement and gesture helped ELs to learn
and remember the vocabulary presented
in the TAP lessons. One teacher commented, “It’s the kinesthetic piece…ELL
students are hearing it. They’re doing it.
They are understanding it. It’s huge. It’s
hearing it and doing it themselves. This is
how people learn. It’s different from sitting at the table.”
This observation supports Mages’
argument that using bodies and voices
simultaneously boosts comprehension
and memory. Arts-based lessons provide visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
input that, when combined, powerfully
signals the importance of the new information, helping it to become integrated
with existing knowledge. Such learning
helps students to organize, rehearse, and
recall material that they have encountered in other lessons (but which ha …
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