Thursday, February 14th 2013: Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

7152 Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)

Assessment 2: Scenario Report (Option 1)

An action plan with reccommendations based on critical reflection and research

By Kimberly Hall

 

Introduction

The focus of this report is to address how to create an inclusive integrated unit on ‘food and food preparation’ this upcoming term for all of our students, including those English language learners (ELL) from Muslim, Jehovah Witness, Indian, Chinese, and Anglo backgrounds. Our goal is to create an action plan that will ensure that our students feel comfortable, welcome, and have the confidence to pursue their English learning in a safe and inclusive environment, while having their needs met. I know this sounds like a tall order, but given the researched recommendations provided in this report to support our actions, we will persevere triumphantly.

Intercultural Understanding

Before we can meet our students’ needs, we need to know who our students are; what their first language is, what their cultural background is, what their religion and practices are, and if they are Australian born, migrants or refugees. “Each of us has different ‘cultural layers’…our cultural identities are historically and geographically determined. Culture and our cultural identity are constantly changing” (Adoniou, 2012b). And it is our duty to obtain depth of knowledge in these areas in order to attain a truly inclusive unit. We cannot expect our students to listen with respect about a foreign language or someone else’s culture (ACARA Australian Curriculum, 2013c), if we do not give value to their own as well. It is absolutely imperative that we include the cultural identities of all our students. “When modeling examples of activities do not always use the default position of white urban Australia” (Adoniou, 2012b) because that would erase our efforts in connecting with our students. We need to achieve Intercultural Understanding (IU) in order to “participate and negotiate with people in a variety of social and cultural contexts” (Adoniou, 2012b). This is why I feel it is important to begin with what the Australian Curriculum calls the Intercultural Understanding Learning Continuum (ACARA Australian Curriculum, 2013b).  Adoniou states that this is a three-tiered view of developing IU. She lists them as Recognition, Interaction, and Reflection (Adoniou, 2012a). By adopting this learning continuum our ELLs will know and understand their culture, another’s culture and have the skill to work between them (Adoniou, 2012b). Within the Recognition view, we should acknowledge the differences and similarities amongst us, both in and out of the classroom (Adoniou, 2012a). We can accomplish this by holding discussions with the students about where they come from and maybe look at a map and point those places out. We can then transition the discussion into what foods are eaten in their households, and then use a smart board and investigate and explore more about those foods and how they are prepared and compare them to different cultures (ACARA Australian Curriculum, 2013c).

The second tier in the IU tool is Interaction, where we can explore those “similarities and differences through contact with those cultures” (Adoniou, 2012a). We can accomplish this by having the students bring in pictures and items from home related to: food and food preparation, or special celebrations where food is involved. We also should invite parents, local community, and staff members to come in and share their information, objects, recipes, and cooking skills with the students. This will help students to empathise with others as well as offer multiple perspectives across cultures (ACARA Australian Curriculum, 2013a). They can do this by providing a baking lesson on a type of bread from their own cultural background. These actions will be key in proving that all cultural backgrounds eat and make their own types of bread, which makes us all similar, but that also “bread is made and eaten differently throughout the world” (Adoniou, 2012a), which also makes us different. The final tier, Reflection, can be accomplished through discussion and student response writing about the “new knowledge gained about cultures” (Adoniou, 2012a). This helps the students “reflect on intercultural experiences” and “mediate cultural difference” (ACARA Australian Curriculum, 2013d). A great follow-up to the baking lessons would be to create a procedural text, like a bread recipe book, with the students. This book can be created individually, or as a class project; and should include recipes from different cultures, including those of the students involved. Students can have family members who did not participate in the baking lessons provide home recipes to include in the class project. This way all students are able to make the project their own. Creating this connection for the students is critical in obtaining engagement which Cambourne (1995) states as an outcome of two of his Conditions of Learning: Demonstration and Immersion.

Engagement is achieved when our students are convinced that they themselves can also bake these recipes, write the recipes, and share the newly learned cultural knowledge with confidence (Cambourne, 1995). These activities will help strengthen the identity of our students by “making difference normal” and “having learning environments which are ‘spacious’ enough to allow everyone to be who they are” (Adoniou, 2012b).

Considerations & Difficulties

Student Participation

Hertzberg (2012) observes that it is “important that mainstream teachers encourage the use of L1 in the classroom as L1 remains a crucial resource for L2 learning”. We need to remember to encourage our students to use their L1. “Competence in the home language(s) helps students to learn subsequent languages. This is why teachers need to find out about the child’s competency in the first language (L1) and always support the maintenance of L1 because learning English in an English-speaking schooling context is different from learning a foreign language…” (Hertzberg, 2012). This can be addressed by having the students use their L1 to name the different types of bread or the names of ingredients. These words and their English counterparts should be posted on the wall in the classroom as a visual text display and a reminder to our students that we value their linguistic differences, aid the visual learners, and to help develop literacy skills in both their L1 and English (Gibbons, 2002). This is vital in helping our ELLs because as Hertzberg notes that “Students about ten years or older should be able to learn another language” more quickly because often it is just a matter of transferring the many fundamental conceptual understandings already learnt in L1 into language two (L2)”  (2012). But not all of our students have come to us with the prior knowledge of vocabulary or “linguistic structures” in their L1 (Hertzberg, 2012). We need to consider this fact in all our programming and make adjustments where need be.

Family Participation

In order to include our students’ family members to partake in our baking project we need to send an invitation home asking for any volunteers to share an afternoon with us. We’d ask for them to share some of their cultural background knowledge with us by way of stories, baking lesson, and/or discussion on food preparation and typical dishes from their culture.

Limitations

Due to the many cultural and religious, not to mention allergy, restrictions on food it is best to steer clear of peanuts and meats. A note should be sent home stating that the students will be participating in baking breads at school and if there are any food restrictions that we are unaware of that they should contact us. We need to take into account the different daily practices of our students and their families (Adoniou, 2012b), and note that some families may not want their children to take part in the baking process. The note should also reflect the decision to only cook vegetarian items and to not include peanuts. There should be some consideration in possibly illuminating the use of gluten, dairy, and egg as well for some allergy and anaphylactic sufferers. For further information regarding specific religious and cultural food limitations please see APPENDIX 1.

“Breads Around The World”: Unit Recommendations

The Curriculum Cycle

The focus of the unit should be on bread recipes, bread making and preparation, and procedural writing of recipes. The purpose of the unit is to create expand knowledge of bread, develop vocabulary, develop an understanding of procedural writing structures, and create IU by sharing of cultural and prior knowledge with one another. Consider using the “Breads Around The World” theme to address subjects like History, Maths, Science, Art, IT, as well as English. For History allow “all children to share their experiences of how the past in their country/experiences differs from the present” (Adoniou, 2012b) in regards to the preparation of bread. For Science & Maths bring ingredients to class and ask each student to shop for the ingredients to make their own bread, and then have them measure out ingredients into bowls and mix them. For IT take photos of the project process and create a blog or booklet for the children to take home (Wing Jan, 2001). And for SOSE we can arrange class trips to local cultural food locations like a Halal butcher, an Asian grocer, or a Jewish Deli. I recommend that we utilize the mode continuum of Scaffolding Literacy and build our programming around The Curriculum Cycle in order to better engage our L1 learners (Hyde, 2012c). The following is an example on how to follow this cycle with the “Breads Around The World” theme.

Build The Field

Hold a discussion on different cultural foods and then guide it towards bread. A quick Google search online can bring up many different bread images for the children to view and discuss. The book “The Little Red Hen” can then be used to discuss the processes in which bread is made. Be sure to find a copy of the book that describes the processes in how the bread is made (e.g. sifting, kneading, baking, cutting), because there are different versions.

Deconstructing and Modelling

Have a family member instruct a baking lesson on a cultural bread of their own and guide the students with appropriate procedural language like “now we pour the oil into the bowl” and ” the next step is to…” This will scaffold the children when it comes time to analyse the recipe procedures (Wing Jan, 2001).

Joint Construction

“Jointly construct a simple recipe making sure to include the appropriate structures and features” that were just analysed in the last lesson (Wing Jan, 2001). This can be done on a smart or white board. Wing Jan (2001) suggests using a class data chart to document the learning, which can be added onto in future terms with other types of procedural texts (if we should decide to continue with this type). For an example please see APPENDIX 2.

Individual Construction

“Discuss the need to write clear, easy-to-follow and logically sequenced instructions” (Wing Jan, 2001).

The children can then write their own bread recipe of their choosing following the procedural structures learned in the last lesson (Wing Jan, 2001). “As a particular skill from any subject is taught, a chart or booklet can be written to remind the children of the process” (Wing Jan, 2001).

Assessment

Assessment can be informal by way of interview to observe if the student can identify the basic structure of a recipe, or uses action verbs at the beginning of most steps. A formal assessment can be to create a “breads around the world” recipe book individually or as a class using the appropriate structures of procedural text properly, or a wall display of student written recipes (Wing Jan, 2001).

Conclusion

This report concludes with these 4 simple recommended guidelines to fulfil an integrated unit on ‘food and food preparation’ action plan. 1. It is important for us to create IU for the benefit of out students. This will help them gain confidence to learn new skills and share their prior knowledge. 2. We should always consider the cultural differences in daily practices of our students and their families but remember to find ways to make all our activities inclusive so that no one is left out. 3. Send notes home to invite families to take part in our projects and to advise them of any foods or preparation of foods related to the project, which may offend or concern them. 4. Create engaging programming that values the cultural identities of all who are involved and be clear to administer appropriate concern and care with all personal knowledge gained about our students so that our students will feel safe and have their needs met. If we follow these simple guidelines our unit this term will be inclusive, integrated and meaningful for all.

Bibliography

ACARA Australian Curriculum, A. a. (2013a). Intercultural Understanding: Interacting and empathising with others. Retrieved February 13th, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Intercultural-understanding/Organising-elements/Interacting-and-empathising-with-others

ACARA Australian Curriculum, A. a. (2013b). Intercultural Understanding: Organising elements. Retrieved February 13th, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Intercultural-understanding/Organising-elements/Organising-elements

ACARA Australian Curriculum, A. a. (2013c). Intercultural Understanding: Recognising culture and developing respect. Retrieved February 13th, 2013, from : http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Intercultural-understanding/Organising-elements/Recognising-culture-and-developing-respect

ACARA Australian Curriculum, A. a. (2013d). Intercultural Understanding: Reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility. Retrieved February 13th, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Intercultural-understanding/Organising-elements/Reflecting-on-intercultural-experiences-and-taking-responsibility

Adoniou, M. (2012a). Recognition, Interaction, Reflection. Unit 7152 Teaching English as a Second Language: Semester 2, 2012. [Tutorial Handout] . University of Canberra.

Adoniou, M. (2012b). Week 5: Cultural Awareness. Unit 7152 Teaching English as a Second Language: Semester 2, 2012. [Lecture Notes] . University of Canberra.

Cambourne, B. (1995). Toward An Educationally Relevant Theory Of Literacy Learning: Twenty Years Of Inquiry. The Reading Teacher , 49 (3).

Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hertzberg, M. (2012). Teaching English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes. Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Hyde, F. (2012a). Week 2 Lecture: What is TESL? Unit 7152 Teaching English as a Second Language: Semester 2, 2012. [Powerpoint Slides] , 21. University of Canberra.

Hyde, F. (2012b). Week 2-3: Lecture Notes. Unit 7152 Teaching English as a Second Language: Semester 2, 2012. [Lecture Notes] . University of Canberra.

Hyde, F. (2012c). Week 7 & 10 Tutorials. Unit 7152 Teaching English as a Second Language: Semester 2, 2012. [Tutorial Handout] . University of Canberra.

Wing Jan, L. (2001). Procedural Texts. In Write Ways: Modelling Writing Forms (2nd Edition) (pp. 63-73). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.