Challenges in Content Area Learning for ELLs (English Language Learners)
Specific Challenges for ELLs in Science
ELLs may lack background knowledge in science. Our “hands-on" approach is different from what they are used to. Drawing conclusions on their own may be difficult for ELLs. In their own culture students may not have been trained to make guesses.
Challenges that ELLs face when studying science:
* The vocabulary of science presents a huge difficulty. There is a special set of terms for the student to learn. Even simple words that the student may know could have another meaning in science.
* Material is covered very fast.
* Directions are often multi-step and difficult.
* There are too many concepts explained on each page of a science text.
* Cooperative learning may not fit in with students experiences in learning.
* Visuals may be confusing and difficult to understand.
* Sentence structure is complex and the passive voice is used in textbooks.
* What was taught in class does not always match the assessment.
* ELLs are not used to science labs or equipment.
* Students lack background in scientific method.
* There is no standard form of delivery of information.
Judie Haynes, everythingESL.net, 2004
Adapted from audience response, TESOL 2003
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Challenges in Content Area Learning for ELLS: Mathematics
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