Broadening Participation Through Enhanced Relationships Between STEM Content and Disciplinary Language for Teaching English Learners

Learn about a model of language-rich STEM inquiry for broadening participation of English learners in formal and informal spaces, followed by an interactive discussion.

Date/Time: 
Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 2:15pm to 3:45pm
Presenters: 

This roundtable session begins with the presentation of a model of language-rich STEM inquiry for broadening participation of English learners (ELs) in formal and informal spaces. This model, developed through the work of this DRK–12 project, brings together EL students, their families, and their STEM teachers in both formal and informal STEM learning spaces. The goal of the model is to support teachers in better utilizing their EL students’ conceptual and linguistic assets to support STEM learning goals with the larger aim of broadening participation in STEM to include more ELs. Particular attention is given to the development of the language of STEM, not as language that passively reflects or describes pre-existing concepts and structures but, rather, as multimodal, disciplinary discourse that plays an active role in bringing those concepts and structures into being as STEM students make meaning of the natural world. One of the primary goals of this project was to develop a model that would support teachers in providing all of their students, and particularly their ELs, with the experiences and tools needed to own this language of disciplinary meaning making. Three components of this model are highlighted during this session: multimodal pedagogies, translanguaging practices, and surfing semantic waves. Discussion of these components is followed by time for group discussion and sharing of related strategies.

More specifically, during the group discussion, participants break into three groups based on the three model components that were introduced. Each group considers the following discussion questions and reports back to the whole group with a few key insights and examples from their own work.

Multimodal Pedagogies

  1. How do multimodal approaches to language use in STEM (e.g., creating and discussing models, graphic representations, tool use) provide additional resources for ELs (and all students) to engage more fully in STEM learning?
  2. What additional scaffolds, resources, or supports do you believe EL students and their teachers need to take full advantage of multimodal approaches to language use in STEM?
  3. What examples, resources, or strategies from your own work relate to this idea of using multimodal pedagogies to engage students more fully in the language of STEM?

Translanguaging Practices

  1. How do translanguaging practices (e.g., normalizing the bilingual experience, supporting students in using all their linguistic resources) provide additional resources for ELs (and all students) to engage more fully in STEM learning?
  2. What additional scaffolds, resources, or supports do you believe EL students and their teachers need to take full advantage of translanguaging practices to support STEM learning?
  3. What examples, resources, or strategies from your own work relate to this idea of using translanguaging practices to engage students more fully in the language of STEM?

Surfing Semantic Waves

  1. How does the concept of surfing semantic waves (e.g., teachers intentionally guiding classroom discourse to move back and forth between more-concrete/less-dense disciplinary language and more-abstract/denser disciplinary language) provide additional resources for ELs (and all students) to engage more fully in STEM learning?
  2. What additional scaffolds, resources, or supports do you believe EL students and their teachers need to take full advantage of semantic waving practices to support STEM learning?
  3. What examples, resources, or strategies from your own work relate to this idea of semantic waving practices to engage students more fully in the language of STEM?