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Making language and learning work 1 - Know the learner

Duration: 1:32

Views: 1330

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In this clip, a social studies teacher talks about how she goes about collecting information about the prior knowledge of her students.


For the ESOL students in this school we use an integrated approach, which means that we try and support them within the content areas rather than withdraw them.

My parents were born in Samoa and I was born in Samoa too, so we just moved here at the beginning of the year and it's so difficult for me to speak English.

I was born here in New Zealand, my parents were born in the Islands back in Tonga. I speak Tongan and when I'm in class, I help out the new ones that can't understand English and show them how to figure out their answers and work.

Whenever a student enters my class and at the beginning of the year, I get them to fill out a form that gets them to talk about the languages that they speak, and read, and write. So particularly from a home perspective, as well as a school perspective, and what kind of schooling background they have had.

I find out about their social studies background by getting them to actually self-assess - so they fill out a survey as to:

  • what they feel confident in doing as far as social studies skills,
  • what they would still like some help with,
  • things that they are really unsure about or that they don't know, maybe have never come across.

Published on: 17 Aug 2011