Instructional Delivery Differentiation

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Participants will be able to identify various methods of differentiating instructions.

Participants will be able to modify a teacher dialogue in order to accommodate for ELLs.

Pre Assessment

On the following document, you will be able to view a teacher dialogue for a given lesson. Using your current knowledge and experience, modify the dialogue on the first page in order to accommodate for barriers that ELLs may face in this lesson. I recommend using a different color text in order to easily view your changes.

Teacher Dialogue Document

Key Words

Objective: This is what you intend for the students to know at the end of the lesson.

Content: This is the subject or topic of the material.

Mini Lecture

In order to construct an effective instructional delivery, teachers need to use both the common challenges of ELLs, and their current knowledge of ELLs' abilities to guide their lesson planning. In this section, multiple differentiation strategies are expressed. Lessons can follow this basic framework as a reference, but remember that this is also contingent on what the students know and the skills they have, in both their home language and in English. Also, some of these steps will need to be enacted in every part of the lesson.

Step 1: Lesson Objectives

Present the objectives to students so that they understand the purpose of the lesson. In any content class, there are ideally two sets of lesson objectives. The first is the content objective, and the second is the language objective. Make sure that students understand all aspects of the objective. To help ensure this, try to use iterative academic words, similar sentence structure, and the same tense across all lesson objectives. Here is an example of ELA class lesson objectives:

Content Objective: I will be able to identify the author's purpose.

Language Objective: I will be able to identify nouns in the text.

For this example, depending on the language level of the students, the teacher may have to break apart each section of the objective to ensure understanding. The teacher could point to themselves for the word "I" and have students say and do the same. For "will," the teacher would have to express this is the future. Because this is an abstract concept, this may need to be an iterative discussion with the students throughout the year. "be able to" could be equivocated to "can," with demonstrations of things students can or cannot do, using examples and non examples. "identify" could be incorporated into simpler sentences for understanding and application, such as Identify the book or Identify the pencil. Author's purpose and nouns would be vocabulary that should be addressed during the lesson. Lastly, "in the text" could be shown through physical movements, although "text" would be another word that should be connected with examples.

Step 2: Vocabulary

Vocabulary instruction can take on a variety of forms. However, there needs to be opportunity for application or exploration, whether this be making connections, developing schema, or investigating the definition through sentence examples using context clues. As the educator, it can be a tedious process identifying words that students may come into contact with throughout the entirety of the lesson, but explicit vocabulary instruction will benefit all students, and prevent misunderstanding or extended explanations during activities. Here is an example of one method of vocabulary instruction, called a semantic map:

Using a semantic map, students can build connections between different ideas and examples. Often, this also leads students to understanding other new words.

Step 3: Multimodal Supports

Students learn best when there are various methods used to reinforce concepts, supporting overall learning and retention. When providing instructions, try to use at least two methods of expression. Two common modes are orally expressing an idea, while pointing to the written explanation simultaneously, using a projector or board. This way, students are engaged in two modes of input, using both listening and reading. To further support students' understanding, more than one of the multimodal supports could be provided from the list below:

  • The teacher acts out ideas or directions. (Students could also mimic these movements for increased engagement.)
  • Images or videos accompany instruction. These could be printed or digital.
  • Students read or listen to the instruction and then explain it to a partner or small group.

As a rule of thumb, do not provide instruction through speaking alone. Listening comprehension is particularly difficult for ELLs, especially when new concepts are being explained.

Step 4: Syntax

Wordy explanations, instruction, or directions can obscure what is being said. There are a few things to keep in mind when working with ELLs. Here are some recommendations:

  • Refrain from wordy segues, such as " What we are going to do now is..." or "In order to best understand this, I want everyone to..."
  • Simplify directions to action steps: 1) Do question 1. 2) Read the article. 3) Raise your hand. (Even better if you include visuals.)
  • Speak in concise sentences. I recommend only one dependent clause, and a maximum of one conjunction: In the year 2019, COVID-19 swept across the globe and began a worldwide pandemic.
  • Do not reword and rephrase ideas multiple times. Take the time to develop a succinct and clear sentence.
    • Do not say: "The carbon cycle is important for a variety of reasons. The carbon cycle is important to a lot of plants and animals, which are a part of the cycle. The plants, animals and the climate are all affected and a part of the process. All the different things that the carbon cycle does for our planet are significant.
    • Say : The carbon cycle is important to plants, animals, and the climate.

Step 5: Wait Time

A large difference between ELLs and native English speakers is the mental exhaustion that ELLs face on top of learning new academic concepts. By the end of the school day, ELLs have been tasked with speaking and learning in a foreign language, among other social or cultural nuances that can pose challenges. In order to give students time to translate, interpret, build connections, apply, and then give a response, the teacher needs to be conscious of think time. To better support in this aspect, providing the instruction or question in writing will allow students to reread while they are building an understanding. Here is an example of instruction with wait times included:

Native Americans are the first people to live on this land. (10 sec) They learned how to live here many years before people from other countries traveled to this land. (10 sec) Hmm, I have a question. (10 sec)

Do Native Americans still live here in America, today? (15 sec) *This is projected on the board* Do you have any questions? (20 sec)

Think of your answer and at least one reason why you think this. *Timer is set for 1 minute. The countdown is on the board*


Using Slide 5 on Jamboard, write down some questions to consider based on the information provided above. For example, one question to consider when lesson planning is: What are the learning objectives?

**You can add a sticky note, text box, drawing or image on Slide 5. Keep in mind that this is a public collaboration space, so you and others will be able to see the responses.

Assess Your Learning

On the second page of your pre assessment document, you have another copy of the teacher dialogue. Using the additional knowledge from this module, modify the dialogue on the second page in order to accommodate for barriers that ELLs may face in this lesson. I recommend using a different color text in order to easily view your changes.

💭Food for thought: Did you learn anything new? Do you disagree with any of your previous modifications from the pre assessment?

Continue to the next module!

Material Modification