Instructional Strategies

The right of every child to education is asserted in several international treaties and texts and has been affirmed in both legally binding and non-binding element. States must respect and protect the right of all learners to education. Apart from the right to education, education systems should aim at ensuring equity with quality across all the students. Unfortunately, including all learners and ensuring that every child has an equal and individualized opportunity for effective educational progress is a major challenge due to significant disparities among students. Nonetheless, educators have a responsibility to educate all students. School districts and schools must provide learning environments that ensure that every student has learning opportunities necessary to succeed at higher levels. In this context, and in order to ensure equity with quality instructors must be able to differentiate curriculum and instruction to meet the learning needs of the students. Therefore, as conceptualized along this continuum, the most appropriate instructional strategies that can be modified in the “English Lesson Plan” to align with the specific needs of “Vincente Flore closely – ELL Plan” are cooperative learning and problem-based learning.

Cooperative Learning

Essentially, cooperative learning involves having students work in small groups of two to five students to complete tasks or projects (Hill & Miller, 2013). Students encourage and support their peers, assume responsibility for their learning and other’s learning. While the instructional strategy has been proven effective for all students, Cruz and Thornton (2013) note that cooperative learning is especially beneficial for English Language Learners. The teaching strategy accomplishes this by promoting peer interaction, which aids in the development of language, learning concept, and content. Virtually, and based on the English Lesson Plan modifications to meet the needs of Vincent Flore, it is necessary for the teacher to assign him to different teams so he can benefit from language role models. In particular, the teacher could use jigsaw learning where the ELL student is assigned group members from different levels and learning abilities. Ideally, when ELL students are aligned with peers, they develop confidence and are able to express themselves easily. Along with that, the ELL plan for Vincent Flores recommends pairing him with a peer buddy. Cooperative learning allows the formation of student learning groups where learners pair up with someone who came help them with learning difficulties. 

Meeting the Learning needs of Vincent Flores and other Learners

Undoubtedly, cooperative learning meets the needs of students with learning disabilities. According to Cruz and Thornton (2013), special needs students such as English language Learners are more engaged in the learning activities as compared to traditional instructional strategies. Students easily express their thoughts freely, receive constructive feedback, participate in learning techniques, and additional practice on skills. Additionally, cooperative learning allows think aloud during discussions, which gives instructors a better chance to assess learners, learn the needs of the individuals, and intervene when necessary. Furthermore, students with learning disabilities are likely to understand better and develop positive learning outcomes when explanations come from their peers. Ideally, apart from meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities, cooperative learning also meets the needs of other students and develops a culture of inclusiveness in the classroom. In essence, the learning strategy gives teachers the opportunity to help students appreciate what each student has to offer. Teachers also get a chance to notice unique skills or the ability of learners and develop the student potential. In addition to the above, cooperative learning incorporates various learning preferences and styles that help create a learning environment that is accessible to all learners in the instructional setting. 

Problem-Based learning

Problem-based learning is a student-centered instructional strategy, where learners are engaged in an authentic and ill-structured problem that demands further research (Jonassen & Hung, 2008). Students are expected to identify gaps in their knowledge, carry out research, and apply knowledge to come up with solutions. Through cooperation and inquiry, students can cultivate problem-solving skills, be engaged in learning, and develop intrinsic motivation. In English language learning, PBL is used to support learners by giving them a latch to hold onto as they learn to use a new language. Use of PBL in ELL is engaging because language is acquired for an authentic purpose. Nonetheless, Problem-based learning must be used collaboratively with cooperative learning to make learning more feasible and practical (Yusof, Hassan, & Jamaludin, 2012). Usually, supporting and monitoring a large group of students is challenging. Incorporating the cooperative learning aspects in PBL encourages cooperation and peer-based learning and makes it easy for the teacher to monitor and offer support. Similarly, it enhances social interaction among students, creating collaboration, which has the potential to lead to a significant positive impact on learning goals. Moreover, through Cooperative Problem Based learning, learners have a chance to discuss, reflect, defend, and analyze knowledge and ideas. In addition to the above, when using PBL, it allows the teacher to uncover specific functions and structures of learning that can help the student to succeed in the project. During the learning process, the teacher should assess the language and the content. Through assessment, it becomes easy to see what further instruction should be provided to the ELL student for effective learning. 

Meeting the Learning needs of Vincent Flores and other Learners

Ideally, PBL functions well with process-oriented outcomes, which include cooperation, research, and problem-solving. When incorporated into the instructional setting, the instructional strategy will help both the ELL learner and other students to acquire conceptual knowledge and develop problem-solving skills. Yosuf et al. also note that the instructional approach allows instructors determine the learning outcomes that fit with problem-based learning to help them develop formative and summative assessments. This way, the teacher can design a scenario where students will be required to brainstorm and elicit discussion, research, and learning. The situations are motivating to the students, interesting, and generate informative debate. Along with that, study enables learners to come up with presentations that synthesize their problem-solving skills and learning. Students find resources to back up their knowledge and inform their understanding, as well as work alongside their peers to present their findings collaboratively. For ELL students, the idea of building schema is one of the ways in which the students benefit from PBL. Essentially, PBL uses projects that allow learners to experience learning by creating and pulling existing knowledge to apply in the current learning context. Sometimes ELL learners can be terrified to present their work. However, PBL allows the curriculum to be simplified allowing for authentic instructions, integrating deeper learning, and cooperative discourse, which is beneficial for ELL. 

Constructive learning alignment emphasizes the importance of employing learning strategies that reflect the learning outcomes. The integration of cooperative learning and problem-based elements provide the necessary scaffolding for developing teamwork in the classroom. CPBL allows students to learn together as team members and the whole class. Although PBL has rough patches, the integration of cooperative learning provides the framework for the learners to overcome learning challenges. 

References

Cruz, B., & Thornton, S. J. (2013). Teaching social studies to English language learners. London: Routledge.

Hill, J., & Miller, K. (2013). Classroom instruction that works with English language learners. New York: Routledge. 

Jonassen, D. H., & Hung, W. (2008). All problems are not equal: Implications for problem-based learning. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 2(2), 6-28.

Yusof, K. M., Hassan, S. A. H. S., Jamaludin, M. Z., & Harun, N. F. (2012). Cooperative Problem-based Learning (CPBL): Framework for Integrating Cooperative Learning and Problem-based Learning. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 56, 223-232.

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