Promote understanding across languages

The language of curricular materials is usually monolingual, but often the learners in the classroom are not, so the promotion of cross-linguistic understanding is especially important. For new learners of the dominant language (e.g., English in American schools) or for learners of academic language (the dominate discourse in school), the accessibility of information is greatly reduced when no linguistic alternatives are available. Providing alternatives, especially for key information or vocabulary is an important aspect of accessibility.

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  • Make all key information in the dominant language (e.g., English) also available in first languages (e.g., Spanish) for learners with limited-English proficiency and in ASL for learners who are deaf
  • Link key vocabulary words to definitions and pronunciations in both dominant and heritage languages
  • Define domain-specific vocabulary (e.g., “map key” in social studies) using both domain-specific and common terms
  • Provide electronic translation tools or links to multilingual glossaries on the web 
  • Embed visual, non-linguistic supports for vocabulary clarification (pictures, videos, etc) 
  • Native language texts (Echevarría, Vogt & Short, 2012)
  • Break apart language (Echevarría, Vogt & Short, 2012)
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