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Source Reviewed:

Echevarria, J., & Graves, A. (2003). Sheltered Content Instruction: Teaching English Language Learners with Diverse Abilities. (2nd ed.). Toronto: Pearson Education, Inc.

Audience:

The book addresses ESL teachers of various grade levels as well as teachers of other subjects who may have ESL students of diverse abilities in their classrooms.

Topic:

Language Learning and Related Issues

Description:

Focusing on formal classroom settings, the book covers a range of ESL learning and teaching issues such as: L1 development; theories of second language learning; the role of L1 in L2 development; learning styles and strategies; the difference between learning disabilities and learners’ limited proficiency in L2; accommodative and supportive instructional strategies for English language learners with diverse abilities.
The text clearly defines, “sheltered instruction,” or Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), and provides strategies for its successful implementation in the classroom. It speaks specifically to instruction in the content areas, confronting the fact that students learning English might struggle in those subjects. The authors provide practical methods that demonstrate how to implement this type of instruction with a full range of learners. With consideration to students of varying abilities, Echevarria and Graves also address the important overlap between sheltered instruction and special education adaptations.
The book is organized into eight chapters. The first two define terminology and review the historical foundations and theories of learning and second language teaching as well as factors that affect second language acquisition. Chapter 3 focuses on teaching strategies and actual lesson implementations. The authors present sheltered content instruction as an approach where the teacher takes into consideration students' English-language skills and modifies the delivery of instruction through slower speech, giving information verbally as well as visually, and the use of controlled vocabulary while at the same time striving for academically rigorous instruction that includes grade-level questioning. Chapter 4 addresses the importance of understanding and accounting for the affective issues involved in the teaching context and responding positively to the cultural and personal diversity in the classroom. Of particular importance to both special education and second language teachers are chapters 5 and 6, dealing with learning strategies and curriculum adaptation. Specific tips are offered on how to decide which learning strategy is appropriate, how to select the best strategy for the content, and how to implement these strategies in a lesson. Chapter 7 discusses classroom discourse adjustment and provides descriptions of instructional conversation model which should be useful to novice ESL teachers as well as content and special education teachers. In the final chapter, the authors provide a framework for self-evaluation to assist the reader in reflecting on the content of this book. Moreover, in order to teach more effectively in today's diverse classrooms, they encourage teachers and practitioners to engage in self-evaluation, goal setting, collaborative efforts with other school personnel.


Strengths:

The book is concise, practical and easy to read. It provides teachers with the support and direction needed to undertake the sheltered approach. Specific examples of sheltered content instruction and scenarios depicting classroom interaction during this type of instruction provide models for teachers and those preparing to teach. It answers many basic questions that teachers ask about ESL and special education. The book also offers sound guidelines to help teachers analyze and adapt material so that students learn language as well as content.

Weaknesses:

None.

Comments:

It is a useful reference for teachers and a practical tool in addressing diversity in the classroom.

Your Recommendations:

None

Submitted by: Hana El-Fiki

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