A collaborative team of teachers and researchers share findings from a
research project aimed at integrating science and language with fifth-grade
multilingual learners (MLs). First, we describe three language instructional
shifts: modalities, registers, and interactions. Then, we share how two teachers
enacted these shifts over the course of a physical science unit and present
classroom examples of how they (a) used nonlinguistic modalities (e.g., models)
as an essential way to engage all students in the Science and Engineering
Practices, (b) treated specialized language (i.e., a more formal register) as a
product of learning science rather than a prerequisite, and (c) leveraged the
affordances of different registers (i.e., everyday, specialized) based on the
different communicative demands across different types of interactions. Finally,
we provide suggestions for enacting these language instructional shifts with MLs
across a range of classroom contexts.
As all students, and especially multilingual learners, make sense of phenomena and problems, they use multiple modalities (both linguistic and visual) and a range of registers (from everyday to specialized) across different types of interactions to engage in communication of science ideas.
Iovanna Williams (Science Teacher: , NY), Adriana Romanzo (Elementary Science Teacher: New York, NY), Abigail Schwenger (Research Associate)