Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Reflection 6 - Language objectives in order to achieve understanding: Key concepts

In this reflection I will talk about the importance of language objectives, particularly key concepts, in the day-to-day learning to help the long term education of your student; this taking into account what we saw in class about the SIOP Model, GANAG, and the importance of bridges to support ELLs.  In many topics of many different subjects, there are some few key concepts that are paramount in the understanding of a certain topic, that are in turn connected to other subsequent topics; teachers should be conscious of their importance and use different techniques to make sure students are understanding these key concepts.
Using the SIOP Model checklist, particularly the language objectives and how to achieve them, we can make sure these key concepts are being understood; we can also use the scaffolding technique to begin with less difficult to understand related concepts, and once we get deeper into the topic we can address these key concepts. These key concepts will give students the opportunity to, in the future, remember and be able to summarize a topic just through the understanding and handling they achieved of them and of their classifications.
The first thing for teachers to do would be to recognize those key concepts which understanding in our students would ensure they are getting the deep meaning of the topic and they will be able to transfer what they are learning to different contexts. Then, teachers should use different language objectives throughout the lessons, that connected to the content objectives, would ensure students are understanding and will help them contextualize those concepts; this could be achieved through different activities in which they will use and get familiarized with these words through the four skills, reading, writing, speaking, and listening, combined with the use of connected supplementary materials.
Another important part of this process is that students recognize the importance of understanding and handling these concepts for their education and their day-to-day life; to achieve this we can connect these concepts to their previous knowledge and experiences, and also use bridges to give them different opportunities to use and practice those concepts: compare, contrast, define, explain, classify, summarize, and evaluate.  Finally, we as teachers can use different techniques from the SIOP Model and GANAG to check for their understanding of those key concepts and see if they will be able to use them in the transfer task (in other contexts).
I will give an example of a key concept in the social studies subject, which understanding is very important for students in their academic and life environment and should be included in the language objectives of various lessons through different means. This concept is cultural legacy, knowing its true and deep meaning will help them appreciate different cultures from a different time and space, as well as let them gain consciousness of their own purposes in life, for example in their school community. To understand the scope of cultural legacies students must first understand other key related concepts like historical cycles, and connect its meaning to their own life, family, school community, country, world, etc. Cultural legacies can help them understand the purpose of studying social studies, and of related topics as coexistence and values.

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