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In biliteracy instruction English and Spanish speaking students acquiring L2 were often paired together as supports for one another in the completion of academic tasks. English as a second language ESL and Spanish as a second language SSL components were integrated into the biliteracy instruction to provide specific opportunities for students to use a peer language expert to complete a task. When working in cooperative groups, using the same scaffolds, tools, and routines was particularly helpful in assisting students transfer cognitively based information from L1 to L2.

The use of similar tools in L1 and L2 instruction i. Both teachers also used comprehensible input and L1OF as scaffolds. Comprehensible input in students' L2 functioned as a scaffold in that, as stated above, it relied directly on the same tools and routines that were used in previous L1 instruction. In this manner, as students transferred concepts previously taught in L1 to biliteracy instruction, their L1OF functioned as a meaningful scaffold that supported those concepts.

This parallel use of scaffolds as tools and routines across L1 and L2 instruction to promote language transfer and was the driving principle used by the teachers to guide their biliteracy instruction. Other scaffolds for L2 acquisition included, teacher directed mini-lessons, buddy reading, and similar language groups. Figure 2 outlines the structure for biliteracy instruction in both classrooms. Reading, writing, listening and speaking were primary components of biliteracy instruction.

Beginning Writers in the Zone of Proximal ...

Centers were not used as much because of the frequency of cooperative learning and peer scaffolding involved in each activity. In the example provided, major activities are broken down by days so that students concentrated and had sufficient time for peer interaction and collaboration. Before regrouping the students and creating fully bilingual classrooms, some key features had to be present.

These included arranging the environment, making language visible, and setting the context. The use of complimentary language pairs, similar language groups, whole group instruction and biliteracy to promote L2 oral language acquisition within an activity i. Both classrooms were arranged to facilitate the key features mentioned above including contexts in which risk-free language learning could take place.

As evident in Figure 2 both languages were used and valued equally without preference given to one over the other.

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On a typical day of biliteracy instruction, students began their day in ESL and SSL independent activities where scaffolding was provided primarily by students working with language proficient peers. This allowed teachers to observe students interactions, circulate, model, and assist accordingly. Next, students selected texts in their second language from the text sets in both languages that the teachers had previously selected. These books ranged from pre-primer to grade level. While reading their selected L2 text, students noted unfamiliar words on sticky notes to add to their personal dictionaries in the following activity.

When working in their dictionaries, students relied heavily on their second language peer experts to scaffold their language learning in L2. Spanish L1 students assisted English L1 students with their dictionary entries from Spanish texts, and vice versa. These pairings often remained in place during the buddy reading and summary activities that followed the personal dictionary activity each day.

During buddy reading students read to one another in L2, their peer expert providing assistance when necessary. Summaries of the selected texts were then written by students in L1, thereby linking the two languages and demonstrating the level of L2 comprehension students were able to achieve with peer assistance. Each day a literature selection was read by the teacher to set the tone for major activities see Figure 2. It was read in English or Spanish with discussion, clarification, and vocabulary development provided in the other language to ensure comprehensible input for all learners.

Demonstrations and pictures were also used to make learning more comprehensible. Whole group instruction was given at times when mini-lessons via comprehensible input and L1OF were necessary for additional academic support. For example, the wordless books was an activity that both English and Spanish speakers had completed several times during previous L1 instruction. Both groups were aware of the process and were comfortable with the notion of working in cooperative groups to create text for each page of a wordless book to later present to the whole group.

Students worked in similar language groups to provide texts for the books. When groups were finished they traded papers and L1 proficient groups peer edited the texts. When time permitted students presented their stories to the class in L2. Transferring the knowledge of this routine was useful to students needing to complete the familiar task in L2. In this way the students' L1OF acted as an internalized scaffold that students used as foundations on which to develop biliteracy proficiency.

Because the task was familiar and known in L1, when the teachers facilitated the activity using both languages, the input was comprehensible, understandable, and meaningful for the student. Previous student L1 experiences then functioned as powerful scaffolds for future biliteracy learning.

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Similarly other major activities incorporated previously scaffolded information that students had acquired during L1 instruction. ABC books, literature circles Short, Harste, with Burke, , buddy interviews, and shared writing see Figure 2 involved students working together in a variety of groupings with familiar tools and scaffolds and with second language experts.


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During biliteracy instruction, students appeared to feel safe to explore the new language and take risks as they acquired their second language Krashen, A "compliments only" classroom policy was established along with other student-generated guidelines for positive interactions. The second week for biliteracy instruction moved the students into the writing process as the major activity see Figure 3. This was not new to the students, as it was yet another tool that they were familiar with from their first language prior instruction. Teachers as facilitators and other adults scaffolded as necessary but allowed students to rely on their language proficient peers for the bulk of their support.

If the writing process was not mastered in the week targeted, it was included in the plans for the following week. In subsequent weeks the teachers and students generated ideas for the major activities which included dramas, art projects, poetry studies, self reflections, and journals. The teachers also incorporated curriculum based assessments into the plans once a week to provide evidence for student learning. Four key features characterized the biliteracy instruction a similar language groups, b whole group instruction for mini-lessons; c using a language activity to facilitate both L1 and L2 development, and d building self-confidence and self-esteem within the ZPD.

This application of scaffolded instructional sought to explore scaffolding as it applies to second language learners who may or may not have learning disabilities. The instruction relied heavily on scaffolding as a social construct, as external tools such as story maps, and as the students' internal maps on which they build new knowledge.

These internal maps served as first language organization frameworks L1OF on which students built second language acquisition. This instruction considered scaffolding in it's widely accepted definition as experts providing support for less proficient students. In addition, the students' learned knowledge in their first language was considered a scaffold on which to develop second language acquisition. Observations, teacher interviews, and student work samples suggested that when students were given the opportunity to develop proficiency with a given task or routine in their first language using specific tools, the students performed similar tasks in their second language.

From observations, interviews, and student work samples, there is also evidence that students benefitted from the experience of working in their second language. Students learning Spanish as their second language as well as students learning English as their second language actively participated in this supported environment and took multiple risks in completing their assignments.

The students appeared motivated to speak and read their second language. The overall self-esteem of students appeared to increase as students began to refer to themselves as being bilingual. Academic strengths seemed to become more apparent when instruction returned to first language instructional groups, and students appeared more focused on their language arts goals knowing that in two months they would again be working in biliteracy.

It appears that the affective benefits of biliteracy instruction were substantial. For example, when a student who was learning disabled and receiving resources services for three years was suddenly sought after by his second language learning peers as an expert in their L2, his learning behaviors became more positive as well as subsequent learning patterns. These manifestations of positive behavior were often noted by Marta and Lena.

Mutual respect was noted by the adults in the room as students worked in their zones of proximal development to achieve cognitive tasks in their second languages. Buddy reading took on a new meaning when students reading in their second language relied on a peer proficient in their second language to assist with the decoding and pronunciation of words and vice versa.

Integrating time for self-reflection could have further enhanced learning in that students would have the opportunity to reflect on how they felt working in their second language. Evidence from this biliteracy instruction suggests that when given scaffolded instruction that is systematically designed to teach and transfer tools and routines from L1 to L2, second language learners can complete cognitive tasks in their second language earlier that would be predicted Collier, ; Cummins, Perhaps students can become proficient in both languages simultaneously.

One student whose first language was Spanish but was receiving special education services in English, appeared to flourish when given the opportunity to work in Spanish. While her writing in English was difficult to decipher, she was able to form coherent complete sentences in Spanish. Clearly this student needs to be reevaluated in both English and Spanish.

Having the opportunity to work in Spanish and act as a Spanish speaking expert in the classroom allowed Lena to identify the students' strengths. Another English speaking student with severe learning disabilities marveled at his ability to assist a Spanish speaker read an English book that he read in the special education resource room. This event appeared to affect this student's interest in school and role in the classroom. During biliteracy instruction, he changed having frequent absences and being a behavior problem to regularly attending and becoming a classroom helper.

In reflecting on the scaffolded instruction, it is clear that several aspects made the instruction more challenging.


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  • Both Marta and Lena commented that planning time was not adequate. They both felt that the parallel scaffolded instruction prior to the biliteracy instruction was crucial as both Spanish and English speaking students needed to learn the same tools and routines to effectively transfer them their second languages. Lena and Marta also found it difficult to locate the same or similar materials in English and Spanish.

    The teachers found that some students struggled when they were regrouped for the biliteracy instruction. These students took a week or more to adjust to the change in the classroom composition and procedures. Scaffolded instruction holds promise for promoting the biliteracy of second language learners.

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    Lena and Marta's classroom instruction supports the importance of external scaffolds such as experts and tools and introduces the possibility of internal scaffolds that can be developed and used to facilitate second language acquisition. In addition, their teaching suggests that scaffolding can effect the time that it may take to acquire cognitive academic language proficiency in the second language. Finally, Lena and Marta's teaching reflects on the power that risk-taking and individual teacher contributions have in authentic educational change.

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    Essay about Vygotsky 's Theory Of The Zone Of Proximal Development

    Reading, writing, and learning in ESL. New York: Longman. Reyes, E. Interactive semantic mapping and charting: Enhancing content area learning for language minority students pp. Jimenez Eds. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Ruiz, N. The Ole curriculum guide: Creating optimal learning environments for students from diverse backgrounds in special and general education. Sacramento: California Department of Education. Schumaker, J. The error monitoring strategy.

    Zone of Proximal Development

    Short, K. Creating classrooms for authors and inquirers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Smith, C. Learning disabilities: The interaction of learner, task, and setting. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Tharp, R. Rousing minds to life: Teaching learning and schooling in social context. Cambridge: University Press. Vygotsky, L. Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Wells, G. February, Talk, text, and inquiry: Schooling as a semiotic apprentiship. Winn, J. Promises and challenges of scaffolded instruction. Instead of providing these students with the answer, I would want them to try to find different ways to answer the question Better Essays words 3.

    The concept contradicted my own understanding of the teaching and learning concept. Vygotsky places more emphasis on the social factors that contribute to cognitive development, in other words he is in favor of the nurture argument. He believes that everyone learns from their culture, environment, and social interactions. He talks about a few of his theories like the zone of proximal development, and a more knowledgeable other The ZPD is defined as "the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers" Vygotsky, , p The premise of this theory is that students through assistance can boost their understanding of a skill and gain mastery by first observing, receiving guidance and finally independent practice Better Essays words 4.

    Vygotsky 's work, within thought and language, shows the highly inventive theory of intellectual development. The book is, in my opinion a little swift in coming to conclusions. But even then, Vygotsky brings to his task his continuous observation of children learning to talk and learning to solve problems. Better Essays words 2 pages. Abilities such as their capability to think clearly, plan, and communicate their understanding Karimnia, Vygotsky was born in to Jewish parents in what is now present day Ukraine As the education arena evolves, so does the demands for ensuring that students are learning and mastering the curriculum.

    The role of the principal has become dramatically more complex, overloaded, and unclear over the past decade