9) How can I support my Multilingual Learners’ content learning?
Language and content instruction are deeply interconnected. Children develop language most effectively during authentic and hands-on content learning experiences (e.g., math, science) where they can actively explore and make sense of new language and concepts.44 Strategic language support ensures that Multilingual Learners (MLs) have access to content learning. Content instruction should be integrated with language instruction. An effective teacher plans purposeful opportunities that help children interact with both the content and the language that is needed to understand the content.45 Content selected for instruction should be relevant to ML children’s experiences and cultures and learned in context. These strategies should be used in conjunction with the others in this Toolkit, particularly the additional ways of supporting oral language and literacy, and some of the specific strategies noted in Question 8 to provide additional support for English language development. When possible, the following strategies should be provided in both the home language and English so ML children can use their full range of language skills to speak and learn in each language.
9B) Preview and review learning material (e.g., books, vocabulary) in the home language before teaching it in English, to activate and connect to background knowledge children have about the topic from their home language.
Individual strategies across the different instructional topics are interconnected and should be implemented together, in a purposeful and connected manner throughout instruction, and not in isolation. Make sure to also consider your classroom or school’s language model when implementing the strategies and adapt accordingly.