How I use SOLO

Definition and background

What is SOLO Taxonomy? SOLO is the Sustained Observation of Learning Outcomes. I was first introduced to this learning framework during my TESSOL diploma in 1997. I selected to present the work of Biggs and Collier during one of my earliest assignments. We had to present our learning in 5 minutes. A decade later I joined Newmarket School and the school was in the second year of an ICTPD contract with Pam Hook. I was incredibly lucky in my second year to oversee the contract therefore was able to have extra learning time with Pam. My understanding of SOLO was reactivated as we learnt how to use the HOT frames and rubrics.

I used the HookEd maps from Pam to identify where I was on my learning with using ICT with my students. Those who know me know that I am a technology geek and pride myself on getting fabulous work when I am working with children. When I used the frames to self asses where I was and what my next steps would be, I was shocked to learn that my outcomes were multistructural. In focusing on the product and what could be seen, I totally missed the process and reflection from my learners. So I made it a mission to plug this gap in my learning. Over the next year, I read around SOLO. I cyber stalked the work of Pam Hook. I reread the theory behind SOLO. I reread John Biggs and even talked to him via email. On twitter I started to identify teachers who were using SOLO and devouring everything I could. As I followed teachers particularly from overseas I could see the HookED SOLO Taxonomy maps and symbols in all that they were doing and all this led back to the work of Pam.

The rubrics

In gathering the overview for our school about SOLO I quickly identified who the strong teacher users were and one was Virginia Kung. I targeted Ginny for discussion and kept hounding her for feedback. Some of my best outcomes from children were framed using SOLO. Ginny would come in and observe and give me feedback. At the beginning of every session her first question was, ” Show me your rubric.” In my earlier teaching sessions I did not understand the importance of using the rubrics. Ginny still observes me and still has discussions with me and she still says at the beginning of every session, “Show me your rubric.” What the rubric does is clarify what you are looking for with your learners. It allows you to see the progression of your teaching. It highlights key words that jump out and if the children highlight these in their process and reflections and this helps drive identifying next steps and reflecting about what went went well. That learning has finally sunk in. I now always start with the rubric. In addition, if I am writing with the children, I have learnt to have a go first at writing out what I want to see from them. A good example of this is explaining what whānaungatanga is. First I would define whānaungatanga, then describe what it looks like at Newmarket School and make a list of school events that highlight the concept of whānaungatanga. Next I would explain what whānaungatanga means and then if we had an event that brought our school community together, I would evaluate if whānaungatanga was present and maybe identify what we needed to do next time to make the event even better at bringing people together to collaborate, share and celebrate. 

HOT maps and rubrics

In the earlier days I was hooked on using the HookED Hot maps. I pulled them all out, and displayed them on one wall of my teaching space. I aligned all the rubrics underneath them, stood back and tried to make sense of it all. Often early users get stuck on the defining and even the describing maps and cannot see past this part of SOLO. But by targeting a new map each term and learning how it works with the rubric, this drove my learning. For example I targeted the compare and contrast HOT map and used this to frame speech writing, Then I targeted analogy maps for creating new monsters that visited our school. I targeted the sequence map to frame a unit on electricity. Each time I pushed for reflections using teacher generated Rubrics. I then carried out a writing session using paddle crabs and I used describe maps and sequencing together and this is when I began to highlight the key words.

Reflections and extended abstract thinking.

Each time I targeted a new map I kept up the dialogue with Ginny. Over time whenever I saw Pam, I would share with her what I was doing and she would also stretch my thinking by asking probing questions about what I was doing. I looked forward to her visits because it was like self talk. As I reflected more on the process and I clarified my thinking, I could motivate my learners to do the same. I used an explanation map to deepen my own understanding of Matariki. When I worked with the children I pushed for an overall statement. But at that time I still did not see the triangulation of a statement reflecting on the process and sharing where to next.

My inquiry.

Last year I had Virginia as my appraiser. I deliberately asked for her for two reasons. Ginny can drive my thinking deeper and she always asks for visible evidence. That visible evidence is something I also drive with our teachers. This is my ongoing personal teacher inquiry.  ‘If I cannot see what you do, it doesn’t exist.‘ I have been pushing our teachers in curating their own learning via presentations, blog reflections, photo curation via Instagram, google and and micro blogging via twitter. As their skills develop, I also aim to see more learning happening using video. Our teachers’ own learning must be visible for a shift in pedagogy to happen. It is no longer enough to just have learning visible on classroom walls or sitting inside an appraisal folder.

My student inquiry

My own student inquiry centred around SOLO taxonomy and my TESSOL training.

Ginny being who she is asked me to prove the following statement and of course by now I knew to begin with the rubric. 

I wonder if what I know using SOLO taxonomy and the prior knowledge and training I have been through the best best practice for second language learners?

Some of what I have did was:

  • gathered student data before and after each team,
  • collated all that was happening in my students books,
  • took heaps of photos and scanned countless pieces of student evidence,
  • displayed the process on the wall with tags and allow the walls to be my think aloud,
  • microblogged some of what I have did via twitter,
  • wrote several blog posts reflecting on where I was up to and also to clarify some of my thinking,
  • published a piece about SOLO Taxonomy and how SOLO frames learning,
  • presented my inquiry to our Board of Trustees.
  • kept up the dialogue with Ginny.

SOLO Taxonomy and English Language Learners

I planned and co-wrote a book with Pam Hook. The initial idea freaked me out because those of you who know me well know how incredibly challenging I find writing and I am the first one to admit that I cannot spell. However I am always up for a challenge. I have never let my spelling skills hold me back. I always find a person with an eye for detail to help me by proof reading what I write. 

Pam framed up the book and I brought in our Newmarket School samples. Doing something on this scale allowed me to continually reflect on my pedagogy and to test ideas using research. Over the year I read what Pam framed up and I added statements, quotes and some references. We used Google Docs to work collaboratively. As I checked our Doc’s history I could see Pam beaver away continuously in the background. She did an amazing work on research and I am truly thankful at how special the writing has turned out. I can hear my voice as I continually stressed to her that everything I did with our children was not at the expense of their first language. We met once a term face to face over scrambled eggs and bacon and kind of debriefed. Those sessions helped motivate me to plan what I would do in the following term with our learners. During the final few months I gave Ginny and Wendy, our principal access to the doc and asked them for feedback. Even during the final edit we were all still making modifications.

My learning

During the process it was incredible exciting. Writing a book is like studying. Some of my best teaching happened when I was a TESSOL student. I liken this to research and practice all wrapped up together. So it is like addressing the why and the how of learning. I also knew the importance of gaining my principal Dr Wendy Kofoed and our Board of Trustees approval before undertaking something that involved our school, our teachers and our children. Wendy is so infectious when she says yes. Getting her approval helped spur me into action. As for our BoT, they asked me heaps of questions about my learning when I presented to them. Both gave approval.  I especially knew the importance of copyright and gained written parent permission to use their children’s image and work in the book. I had the letter translated into the three main home languages of our school. I learned that something like this is not a one person wonder but involves so many people. Even the product itself had a team of proofreaders, editors, designers and our publisher, Essential Resources. Personally I adore the cover and wished I could have had all our languages on it. But I am quietly happy to see our Pacific greetings take pride of place amongst the other dominant languages that are ESOL funded by our Ministry of Education.

Finally the thanks

I am cautious to thank anyone publicly by name and the important ones are already in the book. But I cannot finish without again thanking the amazing children that I teach and who teach me everyday. However I do have to finish by mentioning my two sisters. Kathie Phipps and Astrid Grobben. You know why and you know what you do for me. Your blunt honesty keeps me on track. In this post I want to thank Pam Hook too for giving me this amazing opportunity to share my practice in such a public way. 

Where to next

On Friday Pam and I have our book launch and this happens at our #NPSFab Newmarket School. We have not bought in any books to sell because the afternoon is really a celebration for us. However if you do want a copy, then here is the link on Essential Resources. You have the chance of purchasing both a print copy and an electronic copy. The electronic copy is totally in colour so looks especially amazing. The paper copy is in black and white and that smells and feels amazing. This year my inquiry centres more around my pedagogy and what exactly do I do that makes a difference. Of course SOLO Taxonomy is in there guiding me and of course Ginny is there prodding me. Pam is there too to hold a mirror to my practice.

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Being heard and the right to influence others

‘Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.

The language is the life force of the mana Māori.’ Sir James Henare, 1985.

matariki

Matariki signals the dawn of the Maori New Year and this year begins 20 June and ends on the 19th of July. Matariki is a time for reflection and where we are up to on our learning journey. Matariki is about whanaungatanga and the chance for our school community to come together to plan, collaborate and celebrate this important event. Matariki  is a time to retell stories and to revisit traditional games and crafts. Matariki is a time to set new goals and make new connections. Matariki is a time to focus on Te Reo and the upcoming Maori Language week that begins on the 29th of June.  I can tell Matariki is close in season when our school centenary tree loses its leaves. I see Tui making a regular appearance around school. They come for the black  whauwhaupaku berries and for the the ripe Puriri fruit. At our school the rainbow is a regular sight and we get the torrential rains just like when it rains in Samoa. Often the mornings are misty and our grounds become soggy so we have to look for alternative lunchtime activities for the children. Our school gardens are in the last stages of harvest and the gardening club plan for the next cycle of planting. The children are usually excited because it is also at this time that they prepare for our annual Matariki disco.

Sometimes events can suddenly happen to make you sit up and take notice.

Friday was no exception. We had an interesting day as a flow of speakers came through our school as part of early Matariki celebrations.

While the school was at assembly the first groups arrived and were greeted by our principal and deputy principal in a whakatau because our speakers and workshop presenters were immediate and extended family members of our school and local community.

Eilleen our deputy principal and of Te Rarawa descent organised the day as part of the Te Whanau Kotahitanga Maori enrichment programme and we were given a shared doc to choose activities that we could take some of our children to. Two relievers were brought in to tag teachers in and out of class so that they could take part and they could take some children from their class to attend the planned sessions.

During this same time our senior school had their Friday Discovery day where several children were part of the planned Masterchef cook off and today was their semifinals. At lunch time I had my usual Travelwise lunchtime group meeting where I had aimed to complete work for an upcoming global sharing celebration that my group are involved in as part of the ‘Week in the Life Project.’ We have worked towards this event for nearly two terms as part of preparation for an experience for learning student project I have planned to launch in terms 3 & 4.

The challenge I had is that several of my Travelwise children were involved in all three events. Sometimes events like this can throw all planning out the window. So after speaking with the children in the morning I readjusted on the day and worked with only one Travelwise student instead of my ten  to get a model up for the rest of my group.  Over the next week I will find time to support the others as they complete their part to share with our global audience via skype over the next few week.

As I worked with my usual English Language groups to complete work the computer system played up. I wanted to complete a piece of digital art with a few children but did not finish this. In between children I attended a few sections  of the Matariki activities. I attended three activities in the middle block. In the afternoon, I had agreed to share my journey about receiving my malu and missed seeing the other Matariki activities then too. I made sure that I finished a little earlier so that guests who had come to hear me would be back in time for the whaikōrero with Eilleen.

Our Maori students and teacher need acknowledgement of who they are and under the Treaty of Waitangi, they have the right to come together to celebrate their uniqueness with role models and senior members of their community. Friday was no exception because at our school we had a range of powerful role models join us for the day to mentor, guide and share their gifts with some of our students. On Friday our Maori teacher and students took charge of the day. They had their voices heard and had the opportunity to influence others.

So on reflection Matariki is about whanaungatanga and the chance for the whole school to come together to plan, collaborate and celebrate  this important event on the Maori calendar. We have focussed on whanaungatanga in the past with great success as can be seen shared on our school Matariki wiki. I also believe that an event like this allows us to reflect where we are up to on our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Other Links

To find out more about Matariki, visit our digital story on Issuu .

To find out about whanaungatanga visit our Matariki Wiki.

To find out about Maori enrichment at Newmarket School, visit Te Whanau Kotahitanga’s blog.

To read more about the Treaty of Waitangi visit ‘Waitangi Tribunal claim’, URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-language-week/waitangi-tribunal-claim, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 8-Jul-2014

Writing framed with SOLO taxonomy

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I have to share this piece of writing from one of my students. For this post, I will call him Jimmy. That is not his real name.

Jimmy is a 7 year old who has been with us since he began school. He has had several interventions including reading recovery but continues to lag in national data.

I chose to work with him this year because he has finished the other intervention and currently is not having any other form of withdrawal. He is also one of my ESOL funded students and my inquiry this year was to reflect on strategies I use for writing and to try something different. I know when I work with students I can accelerate their progress. I use SOLO taxonomy to frame the learning and I won’t change this strategy because I know how effective SOLO is for making learning visible for the students that I work with.

However it is what I chose to do with the students that is different. Whenever ever I withdraw my students I shudder at what is happening. I know from international research that withdrawal is the least effective strategy for my bilingual students. They are already on the back foot by trying to catch the moving target of National Standard Data. So withdrawal continues to put them on the back foot. If I do withdraw students it is because the numbers are spread across classes, As much as I can I try and work in class alongside the classroom teacher. This is the most effective strategy for working with bilingual children. I have seen this in action too first hand in Finland and we all know about the Finns and their NSD.

So for my current target group they are spread across two classes. They are all boys who have had reading recovery but are not maintaining their levels and that is an ongoing critcism I have had with reading recovery withdrawing bilingual children with no English. If I had my way with the system I would have them begin after being at school for two years and not when they turn six.

For this intervention I wanted to switch my boys onto writing. Usually, I would align my programme with what the children are doing in class so they are not missing out on learning by just doing language based activities. If the class are writing, then we are writing too. If the class are writing about ANZAC then we are writing about ANZAC too.

However for these boys I have chosen to try a different method.

First I had them list all the things they were interested in. I believed I would find a common theme between them. Well that did not happen. I uncovered a different passion in each student and found out that they all like drawing.  For ‘Jimmy’ it was Minecraft. To clarify how much he knew, I asked him to draw the main character from Minecraft. With my own beginning knowledge I knew it was Steve. So Jimmy drew Steve.

I told him that we would describe Steve and to do this we needed to list our ideas.

I then asked him to list everything he knew about Steve and I would help him. Using SOLO I knew listing is a multistructural out outcome and from my initial observation I knew this was not a difficult task to do. I gave him a piece of paper and asked him to list all he knew about Steve. When he was ready I gave him another colour and asked him to list all the tools that Steve used in Minecraft. Then he was given another piece of paper and asked to list all the monsters in Minecraft that he knew. Then a final piece to list why he liked Minecraft. Keep in mind I am not a Minecraft player. I have an account and have played the night time version only once.

In the follow up lesson Jimmy was given the task of writing up his first piece of paper. I changed the usual strategy for this too. I have often worked in our junior class and could see how challenging it was for the children to have their describe map stuck into their books and then they have to flick back and forth with their writing. So for my group I gave them a separate book for writing and used a different book for planning. This was to keep all the artifacts together and also so they can visually see their plan all the time. It is in front of them. A major challenge I know with children learning how to write in English is keeping the thought in their head. It is hard enough that we are asking them to write in another language but we are also asking them to think and keep the thought in their head long enough to get this down. I understood the importance of this strategy from the work we did last year with Anne Girven.

As Jimmy wrote down his thoughts, I could barely keep up with him. He wrote quickly. As he wrote I reminded him about the importance of ticking off his ideas. Again the writing professional development learning from last year. In two 30 minute lessons Jimmy wrote 4x pages.When it was time to come to me he would run to be the first into my session. He told me he loved writing. His draft was so raw and delightful I did not want to touch it and so I have not made any teacher edits. Unfortunately he became sick and so missed the next two sessions for editing. So his writing has remained untampered with teacher support. How often do we correct because that is how it is done? We don’t do it to their drawings so why do we do it to their writing? Correcting writers work has also been a real issue with me as a teacher. I am informed it is modelling but I know too from my own experience that until I am ready to make my own spelling changes then it isn’t going to happen. I am empathetic with emergent writers because my own writing is an ongoing challenge for me.

Afterwards in the next session I had him draw the monsters. Then I scanned this into the computer, imported the lined drawings into paint and he dumped colour into them. I learned this little trick from our work with Ant Sang a graphic artist.

Jimmy wanted to come back at lunchtime to work with me. I had to turn down his kind offer because I had other student commitments. I did suggest that he return and work in my room while I worked with other students. This he did.

He missed the self publishing part so I typed up his story for him while he read it out. In the published story I corrected all his inventive spelling and left his initial draft in its current state. I used presentation to do this and then imported the graphics in.

Finally I printed off his home copy and I sent him to receive a principal’s sticker from Dr Kofoed.

Where to next?

For me as a teacher, I was surprised at the relational thinking coming through strongly in his writing. I was aiming for a multistructural outcome but this piece of writing is definitely relational. I will get him to identify and highlight all the relational thinking words that he used to link his ideas.

Because the learning intention is to describe Steve, I will have him rephrase the last paragraph about why he liked Minecraft to what is special about Steve. At this stage of the intervention, I am uncertain if I can push extended abstract thinking but think I can start to develop the early sentence structure to include an I believe statement.

For my next session I will introduce the relational words and the describe rubric and explain how both will help them with their next piece of writing. The decision I have is do I continue to write about topics that interests the boys or shall I focus on the writing that is happening in class? I have identified a commonality with this group of boys and that is a love of cartoons. So maybe I should create a collaborative comic with them.

I spent the afternoon with my SOLO mentor who encouraged me to display the process. I am not the best at making things look pretty for the wall and usually just throw things up. As much as I can I like the children to see too that my own handwriting continues to develop and so they see my handwriting in its raw state. So if you see my writing, that is the writing that the children see too. What I do try and do is make it legible ad I even do this for my modelling books. Several of our children still write with a pencil so if they write with a pencil I also write with a pencil/felt.

For more information about SOLO Taxonomy visit. http://pamhook.com/

Language and learning

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At my school we have children and staff from all over the world.

Combined together we speak a total of 23 languages including English and Maori.

As a trained second language teacher with a National Diploma of TESSOL and have a specialist Bilingual Certificate, I have a fascination with linguistics. Myself Samoan is my first language and I learnt English at school. I can get by in basic French and Dutch. At teachers college I specialised in Maori language and  later on I learnt Japanese for two years in order to empathise with children from Asia learning a different literacy script. In addition I learnt a little Tongan when I was immersed in a Tongan speaking class for one year. This year, I hope to learn some Mandarin too.

First Language Maintenance

I love hearing our children speak in their first language and encourage them to share with others in their own language if they are developing understanding of concepts. My bilingual training allows me to trust this strategy because of the work of educators who have come before me and have tested the theory of BICs and CALPs from the research of Jim Cummins. At my school we offer Chinese after school for our children and each year we see more and more mainstream children join these classes. In addition we are part of the Mandarin Language Teacher programme and we have a mandarin teacher work with our children teaching language and culture. We also teach Maori within our classes and have an itinerant teacher of Maori who works with us whenever we can.

Data

I spent a few terms as an ESOL verifier and began to learn how to analyse data. However my fascination with data has been as a second language teacher for twenty years and as a Bilingual Team Leader for two. I have worked alongside staff continuously and alongside bilingual educators during this time.

When I run English Language Learning professional development with staff I remind them of the graph from Collier and Thomas that charts how long it takes to learn a second language for academic proficiency. I remind them of how fragile language is and that it takes two generations for a language to die in a family. This is accelerated by children learning only in English at school. The language that children learn at school is the language that their children will grow up with. I am a living example of this. My own children speak English as their first language. They have a small bank of words in Samoan but nothing to survive with.

If we do not foster first language maintenance in our schools, our children will loose their home language within two years. We can see this by year three. You ask your children to say something in their home language, you can see them struggling to find the word. If English second language children are drowning in an English medium setting and not encouraged to think in their language they loose a 100 words of their first language a week. The faster they loose their language the slower they will be academically in English.  As children learn English they require a proficiency of 100 new words each week to reach the 5000 word yearly target to catch the moving target of the first language learner. In order for children to respond to your questions in a sentence they must have a 10,000 word vocabulary bank. This is the number that an average 5 year old English speaker begins school with. It takes an accelerated second language learner two years to match this number.

Therefore those of you who say your year 3 and 4 second language children who are at benchmark on our National Standards, I applaud your teacher judgement because you far out perform the thousands of bilingual educators who aim for 6 years at school to reach standards.

I am continually amazed at educators who place their students at national standard after being in New Zealand for 2 to 3 years at school. I monitor our data and I regularly see the year 4 drop in data. Two things cause this. The first is that often junior school teachers over score the children because they take the ‘surface’ data at face value. When cognitively applied language proficiency hits the learner and the data shifts to depth in literacy and knowledge across all numeracy strands teachers can no longer justify the surface gathering of data.

Educators who work with large numbers of second language learners know exactly what I am writing about because they are the ones who have to justify the drop in data. There is often the feeling of failure as a teacher because of this drop and questions are raised as to what kind of teachers are in the year 3 and 4 areas because the fabulous earlier school data has been allowed to drop. I often hear school principals ask, ‘What is going on? There should not be a change in data at years 3 & 4.’ However again I reiterate, this drop happens because at the earlier years the data gathering gathering is at surface level and teachers are going by what they can see at surface levels of learning to make their overall teacher judgements (OTJs) and are not taking into consideration that their children are learners of English as a second language before making that OTJ. Therefore that initial early data will NOT hold when the children hit academic levels of proficiency. From personal experience of continually working with data and from the ongoing research I have learnt from expert bilinguals,  this drop will continue to happen until a school understands how long it takes for a second language learner to meet national standards in English. I repeat myself that the data begins to even out by year 6. If only we followed the learning from Finland who do carry out data gathering and benchmarking of their children until their children have been at school for 6 years. Pasi Sahlberg calls what we do GERM or Global Education Reform Movement.

The next time I usually see a drop in data is at year 5. This happens as greater cognitive academic proficiency is expected from the children. Often I look at the year 4 expectation and I know from teaching this year level that they are expected to make an 18 month progress in one year. This is particularly noticeable in mathematics.

I also sometimes see children who have maintained progress for a few years suddenly hit year six and their data takes an accelerated jump to out perform average data that I would expect to see from intermediate aged children. Again, this is because their learning data has levelled out. However their teacher become so excited that they overscore the children. Again this happens when class teachers have been working for a few years with large numbers of second language learners. They become so excited when they see the acceleration of language learning happening. Again the work of Thomas and Collier shares that the acceleration happens then when a school has all its thinking correct around second language learning. However a reminder again that second language learners overtakes mainstream learners at intermediate because the acceleration takes off at year 6. Teachers begin to see this and suddenly place their children above national standard data.

Did you know?

From the conventions on the rights of the child, article 30, that children have the right to communicate in their language when other speakers are around?

children

If a child is literate in their first language then you can expect to see an 18  month gain in their learning each year at school? This is why I particularly love working with new migrant children at year 5 and 6. I literally watch their progress using graphs.

The younger the children are, the less academic exposure they would have had to literacy in their first language and this slows down their academic progress in English. This can be seen by the year 3 and 4 data. They appear to learn English very quickly and this is know as basic interpersonal communication skills or playground English. Therefore just because they appear strong orally in English, does not mean they yet have the academic proficiency in English.

From school wide data I would expect to see the data even out by year 6 if the school and teachers understand how to benchmark the children accurately against National Standards. If the data is too high in the junior school then expect to see the drop in year 3 & 4 data.

Mathematics generally moves first, then reading and then writing. If the children’s writing data is higher than reading, I ask our teachers to look again. Either they have misinterpreted the reading data or have over scored the writing data.

I also check historical data and if I see a shift of 2 or more sub levels in a semester that alerts me to an accelerated push and I ask to see in class evidence. This is usually something that takes place in the second gathering of data. This means, has the previous teachers got their data wrong or is something else going on here.

So as you return to school for this second term, I give a shout out to the year 3 and 4 teachers who are looking at the data. particularly when your class settles and your reading groups need reshuffling because the previous data does not match what you see in your class. Last year our teachers of year 2 and 3 children produced a realistic gathering of data so I know that the children’s new teachers will not have this problem.

In class support versus withdrawal

As I group our funded children for support, I always aim for as much in class support as I can give them. Research shows that children who have been identified as needing extra learning support do not need to fall even further behind their peers by being withdrawn. Colliers and Thomas research shows that withdrawal is the least effective form of second language acquisition. If I do withdraw children then I come in as an additional teacher to the team that has the most needs. Whatever they do in class I do that with the withdrawn children. Sometimes teachers think the ESOL teacher only teaches reading and writing. ESOL teachers are first and foremost trained teachers and can teach anything. We have have had additional training in second language acquisition. Sometime I teach maths to my withdrawn group.  I do feel anxious when my withdrawn children tell me that they are missing physical activities, science or art. I know from experience that often our second language leaners shine in these areas and the one chance they can get to shine in class is taken off them because ‘they need more English learning.‘  As much as I can I target teams during their literacy and numeracy times.

If I am working in class alongside a teacher, the teachers who have the mindset will sometimes have me take an accelerated group in their class while they work with the ESOL children.

At my school, I am conscious of always having my time in a classroom as a classroom teacher and I ask that part of my programme involves classroom teacher release or beginning teacher release. I like to do this as it gives me a sense of data normality. So when I am working with groups, I am clear about how hard to push my children in their learning.

Questions

  • What do you do as a school to ensure first language maintenance is happening?
  • Have you had experience with the year 3 and 4 data drop?
  • What are your views on allowing your students to discuss curriculum concepts in their first language?
  • Do you allow your children some opportunities to write in their first language?
  • Have you carried out personal research to identify where your children come from and would you be able to greet them in their language?
  • Does your school teach an additional language that is one of your children’s home language?