Monday, November 23, 2015

ESL - English as a Second Language

New York is a large city that truly celebrates the fact that we are multi-ethnic. Within the New York City Board of Education there is a continuum of educational options and many classrooms serving children learning English as a second language.

Animated Step-by-Steps™ (ASbyS) are a great resource for this population of children, providing them with the visual support necessary for nurturing the comprehension and expression of their adopted language … English. Here are some features of Animated Step-by-Steps™ that are speculated to support both the comprehension and expression of English as a second language
(illustrations derived from the 5 Fat Turkeys ASbyS poem)

  •  The content of the ASbyS is supported with text. If an educator is pointing out words as he/she reads, the mere act of pointing while reading slows the corresponding speech making individual spoken words more discrete and decipherable for language comprehension.


     “Run … run … run”

  • The content of ASbyS is supported by animations. Text is routinely broken down into smaller, more manageable sound bytes, each accompanied by an animation (signaled by a star). One might speculate that hearing, then seeing what you hear, is a great way to promote greater language comprehension.

 (the child hears the facilitator say, “run, run, run” then he/she sees  and hears the turkeys running)

  • The content of ASbyS is supported by picture symbols that are programmed to appear after the page animation sequence has been completed. Picture symbols are then readily available to allow the educator to conduct Aided Language Stimulation. The mere act of pointing to the symbols while speaking, slows the educator’s rate of speech and allows him/her to flexibly model the ‘mix and match’ nature of forming sentences using the English language. Furthermore, a child is more likely to attempt a communication in English, if that communication has been scaffolded with the visual support of picture symbols.

      “First we counted our FIVE …. FAT …. TURKEYS.  1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … 5. The FAT TURKEYS started to RUN, didn’t they? RUN away from the FARMER

      And that FARMER  … No way! … I don’t think he CAN CATCH them.   

      Remember they were gobbling … gobble, gobble, gobble. They were HAVING … FUN”      

Long story, short:  Regardless of whether you are using an interactive whiteboard or an iPad, the design of the Animated Step-by-Steps™ offers several features that help children learning English as a Second Language make sense of the language they are hearing and hopefully become proficient with their adopted language.

…’til the next post …  (new posts every Monday)

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©2015 Carol Goossens’, Ph. D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator