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For example, in 2002, nearly 42% of students in Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the country, were classified as English language learners.

The Institute of Education Sciences of the United States Department of Education defines English language learners (ELL) as: “Individuals who (1) were not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; or (2) come from environments where a language other than English is dominant; or (3) are American Indians and Alaskan Natives and who come from environments where a language other than English has had a significant impact on their level of English proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, have sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language, to deny such individuals the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society.” Today’s science teachers must be prepared to teach students whose first language is not English.

This helps English language learners correlate written and spoken English, and helps them see spelling and sentence construction.

Closed captioning is also invaluable for the hearing impaired.

Vector diagrams (16.1), scientific diagrams (16.2), pictorial riddles (16.3), photographic analysis (16.4), movie analysis (16.5), and map development and analysis (21.1-21.7), are a few of the many activities that can be used to build visual literacy.

They require minimal language and are therefore helpful tools when teaching science to English language learners.

Conceptual grids (9.1), Venn diagrams (9.2), flow charts (9.3), mind maps (9.4), and concept maps (9.5) are some of the more common graphic organizers.

Emphasize visual literacy - It is often said that math and music are universal languages –ones that can be read regardless of one’s primary language.

Although these claims are debatable, it is clear that an English-speaking student can read and understand an equation in a Swahili textbook, and a Greek musician can play a score drafted by a Japanese composer.

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