City University of New York - York College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1707-1718
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
This study investigated the use of content and language integrated learning strategies, specifically targeted literacy strategies, that were introduced, demonstrated and developed with Teaching Assistant Scholars (TASs) to assist English Language Learners (ELLs) experience success in selected high school biology classes.

Over the course of two semesters, TASs worked with at risk ELL students in small groups of three and four in an innovative and successful program titled Peer Enabled Restructured Classrooms (PERC). The PERC program is funded by the National Science Foundation and is associated with the Math and Science Partnership in New York City (MSPinNYC) research and evaluation team and provides a learning structure and model that supports student learning by pairing more advanced peer tutors with underachieving and historically at risk inner city, urban students, many of whom are English Language Learners (ELLs) who have failed the course or the state exam at least once.

The specific goal of this project was to investigate the effectiveness of literacy strategies with ELLs in order to increase their knowledge of science to be able to successfully pass the New York State Regent exam. The TASs and the cooperating teacher received professional development in literacy strategies to help ELLs access difficult content in a targeted Living Environment (Biology) classroom. Teaching Assistants and the cooperating teacher were taught to use specific literacy strategies in a content and language integrated classroom [1] and to provide comprehensible input in a low anxiety setting [2,3] The strategies that were incorporated into this setting included vocabulary specific strategies, conceptual development strategies, comprehension strategies, text analysis strategies, summarizing strategies, and the use of graphic organizers.

Data was collected through feedback sessions and discussion board postings throughout the school year, as well as surveys, and focus group and individual interviews at the completion of the project. The content learning was monitored by Dr. Leslie Keiler, a Biology and Living Environment expert, and the literacy/ELL environment was monitored by Dr. Linda Gerena, an expert on ELL policy and educational issues. Both university faculty members observed the Teaching Assistant Scholars and students during the course of the year.

Teaching Assistant Scholars were asked to reflect on and discuss the effectiveness of the literacy strategies used during the Living Environment classes. Feedback sessions were conducted immediately after a strategy was used and TASs were asked to discuss their perception of the effectiveness of the strategy. TASs were also asked to respond to discussion board questions that were posted following the implementation of the strategies, and to reflect on how they used the strategies in their own learning. A secondary focus of the project was to determine if the TASs content knowledge (as measured by Regents re-take scores) was enhanced by incorporating these literacy strategies into their personal metacognitive and cognitive learning strategies.

In this session data will include test scores and pass rates of the ELLs that participated in this project. Teacher, student and TAS’ perceptions will be shared thorough contextual quotes and written responses to the discussion board posting and survey questions.

[1] Llinares , A & Dafouz, E. (2010)
[2] Krashen, S. (2003)
[3] Krashen, S. (1982)
Secondary Science, Content and Language Instruction, Learning Strategies, Second Language Learners.