Teaching by way of Concepts & Explicit Objectives

Teaching by way of concepts and explicit objectives is like providing students with a closet organizer to arrange the clothes in a closet rather than just having students attempt to hang everything on the same rod. Without providing this explicit metacognitive framework that allows a learner to understand the purpose of the learning and organize the information he’s taking in, a learner will often place that information in disorganized, random, and often incorrect places, unable to later locate it or connect it to the real concept or even the topic being taught. She may never even remember it again since she didn’t have a hook to place it on. Explicitly providing the concepts and objectives of any learning activity provides students with the organizational framework necessary to more easily place the information in or with the correct concepts and topics, making the construction of knowledge and its connections appropriate and strong.

Since evidence is clear that students (and their teachers too!) benefit from explicit content objectives being posted and considered prior to a lesson so that students are able to understand more fully what they are doing and why they are doing it, what about language objectives? As a sheltered English instructor, you are teaching your content along with developing your ELLs' language. And since the ESL student's job is also double (learning the grade-level content AND developing a new language), you and your students will benefit from the use of both content objectives AND language objectives to help guide and focus effective learning.

"Developing & Delivering Lessons with Overt Language Objectives"

The Importance and Development of Language Objectives

Hellman, Andrea B. "English Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom: Teaching with Language Objectives." Academia.edu. 2009. Web. 8 Sept. 2011.

Sentence frames and teaching strategies to meet language objectives:

"Language Objectives, Language Frames, Teaching Strategies." ESL-Methods. 2011. Web. <http://esl-methods.wikispaces.com/Content+%26+Language+Objectives>.

Language Objective Template:

Through LANGUAGE DOMAIN:(reading, writing, listening speaking)...SWBAT...LANGUAGE FUNCTION: (describe, analyze, list, deduce, persuade...)...CONTENT: (consider the concepts you are teaching)...by way of...LANGUAGE FORM: (complete sentences; modals of should, could, would; opposites; proper punctuation...).

Sample Language Objectives:

(Note that when the receptive domains of reading and listening are used, there must also be a complementary expressive language objective to make the complete objective measurable.)

Secondary language arts

>Through READING, SWBAT ANALYZE Louis Sachar's Holes, Ch. 1 -3 for character traits of the protagonist by way of IDENTIFYING ADJECTIVES that describe him. Then, through WRITING, SWBAT LIST character traits of the protagonist by way of FORMING A LIST.

Secondary math

>Through SPEAKING, SWBAT DESCRIBE how to find the square root of a number by way of using transition words (first, next, then, finally).

Elementary reading

>Through LISTENING, SWBAT DEDUCE the conflict in Wendy Orr's Nim's Island by way of understanding complex sentences. Then, through SPEAKING, SWBAT EXPLAIN what the conflict is by way of using complete sentences.

Secondary science

>Through WRITING, SWBAT DESIGN a scientific experiment using all appropriate elements by way of forming a complete numeric list of steps.

Secondary social studies

>Through SPEAKING, SWBAT REPORT a current event from today's newspaper by way of identifying main points.