Saturday, November 24, 2012

Richard-Amato, Ch 15: Devising a Plan

Richard-Amato, Ch 15: Devising a Plan, p. 360 - 385

     Richard-Amato suggests that teachers should co-construct curriculum with their students. One way to do this is to do a "needs/interests assessment" at the beginning of the unit. The author also suggests that the best lessons are lessons that arise spontaneously out of student need. However, some elements of repetition can also be beneficial for students. For example, "recycling tasks, planning certain sequences of activities in predictable ways, ritual beginnings, endings, and transitions" makes the classroom more predictable and safe.

     There are three types of content-based instruction: theme based, sheltered, and adjunct. Theme-based means that the language teacher teaches students language through content area subjects. This presents a challenge when language teachers do not feel confident in the content area. (I can't see my high school Spanish teachers teaching me chemistry in Spanish.) Sheltered classrooms are content area classrooms that are specifically tailored for language learners. Adjunct classrooms are classes in which the second language teacher works closely with the classroom teacher to "provide assistance needed to comprehend lectures, take notes effectively, write papers, make sense of text and so on" (374).

     This chapter also mentioned the Kagan cooperative learning structures. These are: peer tutoring, jigsaw, cooperative projects, cooperative/ individual projects, and cooperative interaction (383-384). The one that stuck out to me was "cooperative interaction"because students are working together but there is not group grade. This seems like the best of both worlds because students are motivated by working with their peers but they are not graded based on their peers' effort.

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