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ELL and Science Instruction


I have a student in my English Writing class at a community college and English is not her first language. She is working through courses and her intention is to become a registered nurse. She is struggling through the science courses that are pre-requisites so I'd like to start a discussion about science and the ELL learner. I invite you to check out this blog post about the challenges and opportunities for science instruction for English language learners. 
From the post: "English language learners face a triple challenge during science instruction. They must learn everyday vocabulary, content-specific vocabulary, and the language structures that are used when engaged in inquiry, such as formulating hypotheses, drawing conclusions, making inferences, and asking questions.

The language of science can be confusing for English language learners because it uses many words from everyday life that have different meanings. For example, students may know that they eat off of a plate, but in science, plate tectonics has quite a different meaning. The same is true of the words cell (as in cell phone), tissue (something to use when you sneeze), and organ (an instrument). All of these words have meanings in everyday life that are different from the way they are used in science (Wright 2010)."

How do you teach science vocabulary with ELL learners? What difficulties do your students face? What successes do they face? I'd love to hear your thoughts and learn from your expertise. 

Kathy Tracey