Content-based Instructional Strategies for ELL

This course focuses on effective content-based instructional strategies for English language learners (ELL). Learn how to balance the dual focus on language and subject matter, and also learn a helpful framework for designing content-based classes and lessons. Examine different criteria for choosing and developing the content to teach, as well as factors influencing the choice, development, and adaptation of materials. Learn several useful activity types and how to integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing in content-based instruction with students at different proficiency levels. Explore and learn how to implement technological resources available for developing content-based curricula, and understand how assessment is affected by the use of content-based instruction. 

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Content-based Instructional Strategies for ELL


Check out what other teachers from your area and across the country are saying about this course.

Colorado  |  Georgia | Illinois |


 This course was tremendously useful and helped to validate my current style of teaching. The more I have taught, the more I have become convinced that units of study must be thematic. In particular, Stoller and Grabe’s Six-T’s approach was quite valuable in creating a systematic approach to organizing content-based units. While I have naturally moved towards this shift in education anyhow, when teaching struggling readers, and now in teaching ESL students, it was great to gather specific tools on how to reinforce this style of teaching with some concrete tools. I also have been a firm believer of not just using one textbook to teach a course; using authentic texts is so much more meaningful, relevant and engaging for students as it zeroes in on ability, interest, and can still be aligned to state standards. I loved all the specific designed lesson ideas about how to embed vocabulary and grammar into a lesson without teaching the skills in isolation. Again- very useful. I plan to use many of the ideas to create a balance between content and language learning in my classroom. (CO)


I really enjoyed Lesson 11 on technology and the six T’s approach to CBI was very informative. Showing the internet as a wealth of authentic materials and valuable resources, it displayed the webs usefulness in gathering materials to build clear transitions and threads for thematic units. The list of organizations and resources was also valuable. The concept of scaffolding was also very helpful. The examples of how to build it and then slowly remove it as learners gain confidence gave new insights in to in how to alter lessons to the benefit of all my students not just the ELL students. IL, 2014


After reading through the material, I have noticed quite a few things that I need to think about. Having taught Spanish for many years, this course has taught me to think about my approach to language teaching, something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve taught from more of a grammar based approach while focusing on themes. I have tried to focus on content but haven’t done as good of a job as I’ve wanted. This course has helped me to see the importance of content-based instruction and not focusing so much on grammar and vocabulary but working on imbedding them in the content and authentic resources that are important to use in class. Looking at my assessments is a good way to start. This can help me with backwards mapping and make sure that what I am teaching will fit with the assessments. I really like the idea of scaffolding. I don’t think that I intentionally focus on it enough. Also, trying to focus on tasks that will be helpful to my students, tasks that they can actually use in real life. GA, 2014

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