Making Social Studies Meaningful for ELL Students: Content and Pedagogy in Mainstream Secondary School Classrooms

Michelle Yvonne Szpara, Iftikhar Ahmad

In this report, Szpara and Ahmad describe a study that partnered university faculty with high school social studies teachers in an effort to make social studies content accessible to English language learners. The social studies curriculum poses particular challenges for ELLs because it assumes both culture-specific background knowledge and proficiency in English literacy skills. Szpara and Ahmad suggest a three-tiered approach that includes creating a socially supportive classroom, providing explicit instruction in strategies that support comprehension, and reducing cognitive load without reducing content. For each of these tiers, the authors list specific, concrete strategies that the university-school partnership identified as best practices for the social studies classroom.

Citation

Szpara, M.Y., Ahmad I. (2006). Making Social Studies Meaningful for ELL Students: Content and Pedagogy in Mainstream Secondary School Classrooms. Essays in Education, 16. Retrieved from http://www.usca.edu/essays/vol162006/ahmad.pdf