Scaffolding… is it just for the students?

As one of the content coordinator at Sookmyung TESOL, my job is to choose the content that the students have access to in two of their five courses, while also making sure that it aligns with their other five courses. Arguably one of my most important jobs is to make sure that the aligned, and currently relevant content is also comprehensible to the students who have a linguistic range of B1-C2. Additionally, almost all of them have little to no background in linguistics.As our students have both content and linguistic needs, they require a modified version of Sheltered Instruction. Our program is intensive and the students are spread across multiple sections. For this reason, it needs to be clear exactly how the instructor should be delivering content and scaffolding the material so that it is delivered consistently across all  sections of the course.We also follow an 80/20 model in which the students are communicating with each other most of the time, rather than listening to lectures from the instructor.Keeping in line with the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) method, this requires a highly ‘task based’ environment in which the instructors have to take the content and make it as real-world as possible through personalizing, negotiation of meaning, and various group/partner assignments. Since most of our new instructors are coming from a background in which only language or content objectives were required, but not both,I want to be sure that all current and future instructors are fully supported.So despite the fact that my position as a coordinator is unpaid, I am still spending lots of extra hours creating very detailed lesson (and visual) plans and thoroughly noted powerpoints and other materials.

It has taken me around 2 semesters to get the course to a place where I feel anyone with a background in the material and topic could come in and lead the class,straight-away, in a non-lecture style. This whole process, however, has gotten me very interested in how other programs, that serve mostly non-native speaking students- scaffold their own instructors to deliver content and language objectives? Is someone with just a language (objectives) teaching background prepared for this kind of environment or is more training required?As my own MS ED TESOL at Duquesne University was designed for delivering content-based instruction to ELLs in the K-12 environment, this was a challenge I felt prepared to accept, however I know that not all MS TESOL programs follow this path. Also, what is the job of a content coordinator? Should I just be monitoring the curriculum and assessment or do I need to worry about supporting the instructor’s needs as well as the student’s? In academia, where hard work is usually not rewarded monetarily, one often has to wonder if they are doing ‘too much’. What do you think? Should the coordinator be not only qualified to scaffold the students but the instructors as well? Should this be considered ‘above and beyond’ work that is compensated for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements