What seems normal speed to a native speaker is extremely fast to a language learner or to a student with a hearing impairment.The addition of the complex terms and concepts of science can make learning even more difficult.Closed captioning is also invaluable for the hearing impaired.
Many of the strategies that are useful for English language learners are effective for differentiating instruction for other students as well.
The Institute of Education Sciences of the United States Department of Education defines English language learners (ELL) as: “Individuals who (1) were not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; or (2) come from environments where a language other than English is dominant; or (3) are American Indians and Alaskan Natives and who come from environments where a language other than English has had a significant impact on their level of English proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, have sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language, to deny such individuals the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society.” Today’s science teachers must be prepared to teach students whose first language is not English.
In this section we reference ELL strategies and activities that are found throughout this book.
Use a variety of methods to see which work best with your teaching style and students.
Speak slowly, distinctly, and write down key terms – Anyone who has learned a foreign language in class, then traveled to a country where the language is spoken, has noticed that it is difficult to understand natives because they seem to “talk too fast”.