298.  Subject: ESL projectI am an elementary physical education teacher and I would like to know more about how to apply ESL Teaching strategies and assessment to my subject area.  Thank you.

ANSWER:

Physical Education, just like ALL other content areas, lends itself to the application of English-As-A-Second Language techniques.   Please, do remember that ALL students are in the process of mastering the LANGUAGE of the CONTENT AREAS during their entire educational career, from Kindergarten to the end of their doctorate in a particular field.   So, mastering the LANGUAGE of Physical Education is as vital for their educational success as mastering any content area language.   

Indeed, teaching content areas, including Physical Education, requires mastering the LANGUAGE-specific of each content area.   It is important to remember that --in ALL languages-- EACH and EVERY WORD IS A CONCEPT.   The meaning of each word is a description of a CONCEPT within a particular content area.   Thus, mastering the LANGUAGE of Physical Education is indeed mastering the key CONCEPTS in that field of study.   

In general, there are some very specific techniques that are used in ESL, and that help in mastering content area language, vocabulary, and thus, CONCEPTS.   Among these techniques, your may find:

1. En emphasis on ACADEMIC LANGUAGE of the content area.  

For Physical Education, this may include the language/key concepts of Anatomy,  Physiology, and the key language/key concepts  of each and every sports --     What are the specific names of the playing field, the equipment, the positions     of the players, the rules, the movements, etc.  

Physical Education has an incredible contribution to make to the language development/concept development of ALL students!!!!!

To emphasize the academic language, students must be given opportunities to:

Listen to the key vocabulary while SEEING what the word means --showing the object or performing the action or visualizing more than one object or action to learn the distinctive attributes of each--;
Speak using the key vocabulary;
SEE the key vocabulary WORDS in writing;
Read such words, and
Write meaningful sentences or stories using those words.   

Thus, as a Physical Education teacher, YOU must make a very significant contribution to language/concept development by always keeping in mind that you are the language MODEL for your students, and thus YOU MUST PROVIDE the VISUAL stimuli for your students to UNDERSTAND the concept and PERCEIVE the WORDS you use.  

2. Through ACTIVE LEARNING -- students visualizing, listening and speaking the language/concepts of the content area (a particular type of sports, for example), students will develop their content-area vocabulary and their cognitive understanding.

3. Your role must include lots of opportunities for YOU to demonstrate/MODEL the language/concept as you  
SHOW,
SPEAK while students listen,
ASK QUESTIONS to give students opportunities to respond USING the modeled language, 
POST the key vocabulary/concept words for students to visually recognize the new words, and finally
GIVE OPPORTUNITIES to students to READ and WRITE using the new words.

Thus, you must work in-the-field AND in-the-classroom, since LANGUAGE/CONCEPT development as well as out-of-doors opportunities to practice developing the skills of the sports are BOTH essential to mastering Physical Education.

4. You may wish to include in your Physical Education program (by the way, be sure to always use the COMPLETE WORDS first and OFTEN --"Physical Education"-- and THEN use the abbreviated form or acronym --"P.E.") some type of MULTICULTURAL PERSPECTIVE:   Sports (+ language/concepts) in other parts of the world, in other times and other cultures.    In so doing, you may wish to cooperate with and coordinate your program with the Social Studies Department and History teachers -- What ancient / modern country or culture are students studying in Social Studies?  YOU can contribute to those lessons and make "PE" even more meaningful!!!   Similarly with Math --ways to measure time/space/hits, etc in different sports; and Sciences --Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Nutrition, movement, speed, etc. Thematic Instruction MUST include "PE." 

5. Of course, today you can include plenty of technology and many VISUAL resources to help your students understand the LANGUAGE / CONCEPTS of Physical Education.   Sports are reported widely in all media, and sports events encompass the entire world. 

Testing and assessment in Physical Education, then, must include SKILLS (How can students play particular sports?) and LANGUAGE/CONCEPTS (How can students express themselves using the LANGUAGE of the content area in response to questions that require understanding of the CONCEPTS of the content area?)  

Hope these ideas help you!!!!    IT IS NOT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE ON PAPER BUT WHAT YOU DO WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF.   (GREAT THOUGHT!!)

 

 


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
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Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.

 

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