Reading the World: Integrating Geography in an English Language Learner Literacy Program

Download Reading the World: Integrating Geography in an English Language Learner Literacy Program

Post on 27-Mar-2017




0 download


<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Leeds]On: 26 November 2014, At: 09:04Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of GeographyPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Reading the World: Integrating Geography in an EnglishLanguage Learner Literacy ProgramScott N. ForrestPublished online: 16 Aug 2007.</p><p>To cite this article: Scott N. Forrest (2002) Reading the World: Integrating Geography in an English Language Learner LiteracyProgram, Journal of Geography, 101:5, 191-198, DOI: 10.1080/00221340208978499</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Reading the World: Integrating Geography in an English Language Learner Literacy Program </p><p>Scott N. Forrest </p><p>ABSTRACT English language development </p><p>classes focus on teaching students of other languages how to speak, read, and write English. They must also prepare students to meet the many standards and require- ments that are prerequisites to content classes, such as geography, and high school graduation. This discussion focuses on the integration of literacy and geogra- phy in a classroom with English language learners. A common English language development model, the "Into, Through, Beyond model of learning, sets a founda- tion that integrates components of English language acquisition with language arts and geography standards. In turn, this approach to learning prepares the learners for success in social and academic arenas. </p><p>Key Words: English language acquisition, literacy, critical pedagogy, geographic educa- tion, integrated curriculum </p><p>Scott Forrest is a teacher at Escondido High School in Southern California. He teaches English language development and loth grade college prep English. Although these classes focus on English, he incorporates geographic education in all of his courses. Additionally, he is a graduate student at San Diego State University, earning an M.A. in policy studies in languages and cross cultural education. </p><p>INTRODUCTION </p><p>must be on producing literate learners. Literacy is more than the general notion of reading, writing, and speaking. Literacy may be expressed in many different forms: functional, academic, workplace, information, constructive, emergent, cultural, and critical (Wink 2000). Thus, reading, writing, and speaking are acquired and used within social, cultural, and political contexts (Powell 1999). In addition to addressing the implications of literacy, educators must consider the mandated criteria to which a literacy program must adhere: state content standards, district standards, English language development standards, and con- tent subject standards (such as geography), to mention a few. How are teachers able to guide English language learners effectively through the maze of all these requirements? How are students able to learn all that is required effectively? Is it possible for English language learners to learn geography skills while concur- rently acquiring literacy and higher order thinking skills? </p><p>Considering these important aspects of developing an integrated litera- cy/geography program, a working definition of "literacy" must be in place. However, educators are faced with the question of what "literate" means. For this discussion, Joan Wink's (2000) definition of literacy will be used. She asserts that "literacies" are reading, writing, and reflecting. Literacies help us make sense of our world and do something about it (Wink 2000, 55). This defin- ition is useful when we realize that the goal of education is to prepare learners to contribute positively to and succeed in the world. The definition is especially appropriate when addressing the National Geography Standards (Geography Education Standards Project 1994). Students study, interpret, and interact with the world through the study of geography. Thus, learners must learn to listen, read, write about, interpret, and communicate with the world in which they live. In other words, they must learn to "read the world." </p><p>The purpose of this discussion is to consider a framework through which a curriculum meets the mandates of standards. It also addresses the needs of students as they become more actively involved in the world. A frame- work commonly promoted through English language acquisition programs is the "Into, Through, Beyond model. This model is used in literacy programs such as Project Write. The publishers of Project Write, the WRITE Institute (2000), explain the focus of each segment of the model. The "Into" section of the model builds on the background of each student. Activities motivate students to analyze their personal life experiences in relation to the reading materials. The "Through component involves the direct and explicit instruction of English language skills and concepts. Also, lessons are geared for student interaction and acquiring of core concepts across curricular lines. The "Beyond portion extends the learning beyond the confines of the classroom into the lives of students (WRITE Institute 2000). The students express their learning by producing culminating products. These products are then linked to the students' lives through consequent activi- ties. Table 1 summarizes this model. Later, specific examples using the model </p><p>There is little argument that the focus of an effective literacy program </p><p>Journal of Geography 101: 191-198 02002 National Council for Geographic Education </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f L</p><p>eeds</p><p>] at</p><p> 09:</p><p>04 2</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>192 Forvest </p><p>~ </p><p>Table 1 Summary of the Into, Through, Beyond Model </p><p>Into Through Beyond </p><p>Motivate students - Direct/Explicit Instruction Extend beyond the classroom *Relate to reading materials English language skills and concepts Relate to lives of students </p><p>Incorporate life experiences Collaborative work Opportunities for students to and cultures express their learning </p><p>are discussed. The "Into, Through, Beyond curriculum model </p><p>provides a framework through which an English language development program spans the components of literacy and meets the requirements of geography and language arts standards. Additionally, the model empowers student learning. The "Into" component provides a pathway for English language learners to enter a unit of study. It pro- vides strategies to link the existing student knowledge to a geography unit of study. The "Through" component engages learners with the content of the unit. They are encouraged to interact with the content within meaningful contexts. The "Beyond" portion extends the students' learn- ing. Students are empowered to express their newly acquired knowledge effectively by using the knowledge in various aspects of life. </p><p>Beyond" model provides a foundation for the literate and geographic development of English language learners. The following theories and applications are appropriate with any mix of native languages and cultures. Three compo- nents of an effective literacy program for English language learners are incorporated within the model. The three com- ponents are valuing heritage cultures and self-identity, learning through social activity, and developing student voice. These three components are analyzed in light of cur- rent learning theory and research as well as their integra- tion with geography education. More specifically, three of the National Geography Standards (Geography Education Standards Project 1994) are highlighted based on how they are adapted within the model. </p><p>This discussion argues that the "Into, Through, </p><p>INTO - VALUING CULTURAL HERITAGE AND SELF-IDENTITY Geography Standard 6 - 'The Geographically informed person knows and understands how culture and experience influence people's perception of places and regions" (Geography Education Standards Project 1994). </p><p>The "Into" segment of the model builds on the background knowledge and experiences of the learners. This is a crucial component, because students build their new knowledge base on their pre-existing knowledge and experiences. Consequently, their cultural and community values greatly influence their learning (Kohn 1993; Noel 2000; Wink 2000; WRITE Institute 2000). Educators must develop opportunities for students to share their life expe- </p><p>riences and cultural perspectives. Jim Cummins (1994), an educational psychologist, stresses the importance of incor- porating language learning with cultural perspectives. Students who are encouraged to maintain their family cul- ture and learn about other cultures become empowered in their own learning. Students learn with more rapidity and depth when given the opportunities to share personal sto- ries, study topics of interest, and explore issues in their own lives. This is important because students critically reflect on previous knowledge and experiences. They con- nect the previous knowledge to new information as a means of developing a meaningful purpose for learning (Baker 1996, Faltis and Hudelson 1998, Wink 2000). </p><p>Such processes of reflecting and sharing lend themselves to reading and writing activities that relate directly to students' experiences and interests. Furthermore, they help achieve Geography Standard 6. The students are encouraged to reflect on their own per- ceptions of the world as well as the perceptions of their classmates. Students are better equipped to achieve Geography Standard 6 because they are enabled to view each other's experiences and perceptions of places and regions. </p><p>nities to look inwardly. Personal introspection helps stu- dents to establish a purpose, recognize a concept, or per- sonally relate the new learning to their lives. Additionally, students are encouraged to view their families, friends, and neighbors as sources of knowledge. The activities through which this is accomplished aid in the development of cul- tural literacy and multicultural competence (WRITE Institute 2000). </p><p>in the English language development class create and pre- sent autobiographical posters at the begmning of each term. The students are to include information about them- selves using pictures, drawings, and English phrases. The students focus on their lives, interests, and families. In essence, they focus on their own cultures. Upon comple- tion, they present their posters to their classmates. The posters are proudly displayed for all to view and read. The presentations promote a tone of becoming aware of and valuing one another's cultures. Additionally, English lan- guage learners use and practice the skills of organizing, writing, and speaking in English. As a result, an effective </p><p>The "Into" component provides students opportu- </p><p>As an example of an "Into" component, students </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f L</p><p>eeds</p><p>] at</p><p> 09:</p><p>04 2</p><p>6 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>Reading the World 193 </p><p>springboard is provided for the achievement of Geography Standard 6. </p><p>Allowing students to reflect upon their own expe- riences encourages individual students to continue to learn more about themselves, their relationship to others, and to the world (Noel 2000). The students are interacting with various world cultures and customs that are represented by each member of the class. Thus, heritage cultures and per- spectives are more valued. In this case the students may gain a sense of identity that relates to other people and the interrelatedness of all people within their world. The focus on individual cultures, experiences, and identities, as relat- ed to one's life, creates an atmosphere of purposeful learn- ing. Providing opportunities for students to reflect on and share their "place in the world" lead to the integration of geography and language arts. The integration leads into the next component of learning through social activity. Once students are able to define their individual perspectives and knowledge base, they are ready to share their knowl- edge with their peers. </p><p>THROUGH - LEARNING THROUGH SOCIAL ACTIVITY Geography Standard 1 - "The Geographically informed person knows h o w to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information" (Geography Education Standards Project 1994). </p><p>One must understand the importance of interac- tion among students when implementing the "Through component of the model. Social interactive language skills, with academic language skills, are necessary for student learning and success (Faltis and Hudelson 1990, Wink 2000). Using social interaction within the classroom enhances the language and learning processes. The idea of social interaction becomes imperative considering language use is not restricted to the classroom. Students must learn to interact and effectively communicate in a wide variety of social and cultural contexts within their world (Faltis and Hudelson 1990; Powell 1999). John Dewey (1916) stresses the importance of social activity in learning when he states, "Lack of the free and equitable intercourse which springs from a variety of shared interests makes intellectual stimu- lation unbalanced. Diversity of stimulation means novelty, and novelty means challenge to thought" (online). He fur- ther comments that the restriction of activity in the class- room produces an environment of aimless routine (Dewey 1916, Chapter 8). </p><p>awareness requires social interaction. The word...</p></li></ul>


View more >