Using Task-based Instruction in Canada: Can Sheltered Instruction Complement? (For presentation at JALT PanSIG 2017)

I would like to invite you to my presentation titled “Using TBI in Canada: Can Sheltered Instruction Complement?”, which is taking place at 11:00 AM on Sunday, May 21 in B101 at Akita International University in Japan.

I will start off the session with a brief introduciton of the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs),which is a national standard and framework of reference for teaching adult ESL in Canada and adheres to the principles of TBI among other instructional approaches. We will then discuss its incorporation into adult ESL classrooms, using mainly components and features from the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model. I believe that there will be some SIOP strategies for you to take away and incorporate in your EFL/JSL and mainstream classrooms in Japanese teaching and learning contexts.

Thank you very much!

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Working with differently-abled learners in ESL/EAL classrooms

Do you teach an adult EAL class with exceptional students? Or, do you feel that some of your adult EAL students who are yet to be diagnosed with disabilities might benefit from differentiating instructions? Then you may find this article (pp. 6-9) useful:

Welcome to ADAPT Strategy: A 5-step Strategy for Inclusion in adult ELL Classrooms, pp. 6-9.

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Reaching Differently-abled Adult ELLs: Drawing from Canadian Experiences

I will be presenting on “Reaching differently-abled adult ELLs: Drawing from Canadian Experiences” on Thursday, March 23 at the TESOL 2017 International Convention in Seattle, Washington!




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Using SQP2RS to develop reading comprehension

Follow this link to an article on developing reading comprehension through the use of SQP2RS published in March 2016 in TESOL Connections:

Developing ELL Reading Comprehension Skills: SQP2RS

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Reading Strategy Use among adult EFL Learners in Nepal

Research interest in L2 reading strategy use has been growing considerably among second language practitioners and researchers. Reading strategies are the comprehension processes employed by readers to make sense of what they read (Brantmeier, 2002). As there is a wide consensus among practitioners that the use of a variety of reading strategies can help adult ESL students develop their reading comprehension, the present research investigated adult EFL students’ perceived awareness of reading strategy use in academic context in Nepal. The findings revealed that participants used all three categories of reading strategies at a high- and medium- usage levels. However, no significant differences in overall reading strategy use were found between male and female participants. Significant differences are found between the male and female participants (p < .05) in the means of 3 of the 30 individual reading strategies. Males’ mean values are significantly higher than females’ for Global 24 and Problem-solving 25, whereas females’ mean value is significantly higher than males’ for Support 10. Among the other 27 reading strategies, there is no significant difference between males and females, although females’ mean values are higher for 17 individual reading strategies and males’ mean values are higher for 10 individual reading strategies. The overall mean value for all the strategies taken together is higher for females; however, the difference is not statistically significant. These findings indicated that this particular group of students are aware of a variety of reading strategies. Global strategies are related to reading comprehension (Anderson, 2005). As Global is the least reported category of strategies, the use of Global strategies be encouraged among the readers. It is important that readers’ awareness of appropriate strategies be promoted since when readers are aware of the reading strategies they have already identified, their conscious decision to use appropriate strategies becomes helpful in comprehension of the text (Akkakoson, 2012).

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SIOP “Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol” and ESL Classrooms

The SIOP Model

[Note: This information was partly published in the TESL Saskatchewan Newsletter (Winter, 2013); the link to the blog information wasn’t provided in the newsletter.]

The SIOP Model is a “comprehensive, well-articulated model of instruction” for teachers teaching English language learners. It was developed by researchers Jana Echevarria and Mary Ellen Vogt at California State University, Long Beach and Deborah J. Short at the Center for Applied Linguistics during the research project through the Centre for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE), a national research Center funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education from 1996 through 2003. Jana Echevarria is Professor of Education at California State University, Long Beach, and MaryEllen Vogt is Professor Emerita of Education at California State University, Long Beach while Deborah J. Short is Professional Development Consultant and Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC.

SIOP is sometimes referred to as SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) as well. “Sheltered Instruction is an approach for teaching content to English learners (ELs) in strategic ways that make the subject matter concepts comprehensible while promoting the students’ English language development (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008).”

Theoretical Support

“The theoretical underpinning of the model is that language acquisition is enhanced through meaningful use and interaction…In effective SIOP lessons, there is high level of student engagement and interaction with the teacher, with other students, and with text, which leads to elaborated discourse and critical thinking (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008).” SIOP was at first just an observation instrument to observe and rate teachers’ lessons and their delivery, but later, it turned into the SIOP Model, which focus on the instructional practices to appropriately work with linguistically and culturally diverse groups of learner population.

How does the author of this article come to know of the SIOP Model this much?

—Appreciate the opportunity for an in-depth study of the SIOP Model in 2008 while pursuing Master’s Degree in Education (TESL) at the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma, US

—Have successfully been incorporating this model since the beginning of 2009 at a variety of settings, including the Toronto Catholic District School Board, Seneca College, Centennial College, Camosun College and the University of Regina. Conducted action research on the use of the SIOP Model in 2011.

—Have been presenting this model at local, provincial, and national level conferences

—What is said about SIOP?

—  “ We believe, and our research confirms, that when teachers use the SIOP for their planning and teaching of English learners, high-quality and effective sheltered instruction results, and student achievement is improved (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008)”

—   “If teachers want their students, including Els, to grow in their academic content knowledge and English ability and leave the classroom feeling successful and excited about what they are learning, the SIOP model is a framework to consider implementing (Hanson & Filibert, 2006).”

“As an instructional framework, the SIOP Model has been instrumental in enhancing learner language skills, and developing responsible and autonomous learners. One of the conclusions that SIOP also very plays a significant role in assisting ESL teachers effectively and efficiently facilitate adult ESL classes can not be overlooked at all (Khatri, 2011: Action Research Project Discussion).”

SIOP: 8 Components and 30 Features

  1. Lesson Preparation
  2. Building Background
  3. Comprehensible Input
  4. Strategies
  5. Interaction
  6. Practice/ Application
  7. Lesson Delivery
  8. Review and Assessment

1. Lesson Preparation

  1. Content Objectives Clearly Defined, Displayed, and Reviewed with Students
  2. Language Objectives Clearly Defined, Displayed, and Reviewed
  3. Content Concepts Appropriate for Age and Educational Background
  4. Supplementary Materials Used to a High Degree
  5. Adaptation of Content to All Levels of Student Proficiency
  6. Meaningful Activities that Integrate Lesson Concepts with Language Practice Opportunities

2. Building Background

7. Concepts Explicitly Linked to Students’ Background Experiences

8.  Links Explicitly Made between Past Learning and New Concepts

9. Key Vocabulary Emphasized (introduced, written, repeated, and highlighted for students to see

3. Comprehensible Input

  1. Speech Appropriate for Students’ Proficiency Levels
  2. Clear explanation of academic tasks
  3. A variety of techniques used to make content concepts clear

4. Strategies

  1. Ample opportunities provided for students to use learning strategies
  2. Scaffolding techniques consistently used, assisting and supporting student understanding
  3. A variety of questions or tasks that promote higher-order thinking skills

5. Interaction

  1. Frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion
  2. Grouping configurations support language and content objectives of the lesson
  3. Sufficient wait time for student responses consistently Provided
  4. Ample Opportunities for Students to Clarify Key Concepts in L1

6. Practice/Application

  1. Hands-on Materials and /or manipulatives Provided for Students to Practice Using New Content Knowledge
  2. Activities Provided for Students to Apply content and Language Knowledge
  3. Activities That Integrate All Language Skills

7. Lesson Delivery

  1. Content Objectives Clearly Supported by Lesson Delivery
  2. Language Objectives Clearly Supported by Lesson Delivery
  3. Student Engaged Approximately 90% to 100% of the Period
  4. Pacing of the Lesson Appropriate to Students’ Ability Levels

8. Review

  1. Comprehensive Review of Key Vocabulary
  2. Comprehensive Review of Key Content Concepts
  3. Regular Feedback Provided to Students on Their Output
  4. Assessment of Student Comprehension and Learning of All Lesson Objectives throughout the Lesson


Centre for Applied Linguistics. SIOP model professional development: Helping educators work effectively with English language learners.  Retrieved April 20, 2012 from

Echevarria J. , Vogt M. , & Short, D.J. (2008).  Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model.  Boston: Pearson Education.

Hanson S. & Filibert C. (2006).  Teaching English learners the SIOP way:   Classroom connections.   Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, 12-14.

Short, D., Himmel, J., Gutierrez, S., & Hudec, J. (2011). Using the SIOP    Model: Professional development manual for sheltered Instruction. Washington, DC: Centre for Applied Linguistics.

Vogt, M., & Echevarria, J. (2008).  99 Ideas and activities for teaching English learners with  the SIOP Model.  New York, NY: Pearson Education.

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Working with Students with Learning Disabilities? Here are the Strategies!

Studies show most students with learning disabilities require differentiated teaching and assessment system in inclusive classrooms, possibly in combination with assistance from resource teachers and other specialists as depending upon severity of disabilities. Teachers should understand circumstances in inclusive classrooms and be willing to be differentiating teaching and be responsive. A supportive and encouraging classroom should be provided. Echevarria, Vogt, and Short suggest a structured learning environment, scaffolded instruction, and opportunities to experience success help alleviate frustration (2008).

Incorporating ADAPT Strategy: Hutchinson points out that teachers need to use differentiated instruction that is effective for exceptional students, efficient for teachers, and becomes a regular part of teachers’ planning and teaching (2010). Therefore, a systematic strategy called ADAPT is suggested here. Accounts of students’ strengths and needs, demands of the classroom, adaptations, perspectives and consequences, and teach and assess the match are five steps included in this strategy.  During the final stage of this strategy, teachers assess how well his or her adaptation has matched student strengths and needs to classroom demands. This will help teachers think of altering continuing or the differentiation. While planning adaptations during ADAPT strategy, students’ strengths and needs, and demands of the classroom environment are considered.

Bypassing Strategies (Teaching Around the Mismatch), Remediating or Accelerating, and Teaching through the Mismatch: Students are allowed to succeed in class using alternative methods during Teaching Around the Mismatch. Intensive Remediation and Acceleration examples of Remediating or Accelerating to Overcome the Mismatch. As Hutchinson (2010) has stated, teachers can made “differentiations in the fundamental organization and instruction” taking in the classroom to Teach through the Mismatch.

Differentiating Teaching: The Ontario Curriculum Planner on Special Education mentions that individuals learn in different ways and at different rates, and that in order for the student with a learning disability to be successful within the context of the curriculum, he or she may require modifications to the curriculum expectations or appropriate accommodations (2001). So, to help students with learning disabilities succeed, teaching and assessment should properly be differentiated. Adapting the curriculum to students’ needs, providing different materials in different forms, making notes about important points, reinforcing oral descriptions with visual materials, allowing extra time for students to process information, and incorporating colour-coded and manipulative learning materials are some suggestions for teachers to keep in mind while teaching students with learning disabilities.

Differentiation can be performed in a variety of ways:

Dehn (2008) suggests complex projects or assignments be broken into several key steps or components (as cited in Martinussen & Major, 2011). This helps students process information in part and reduce their working memory demands. Similarly, According to Graham, Harris, and Olinghouse (2007), explicit instruction in learning strategies can be provided to students (as cited in Martinussen & Major, 2011). As a result of this, they find it easy to approach complex academic tasks such as writing an essay. Martinussen and Major (2011) recommend external memory aids such as cue cards be also made available to students. Studies also suggest organizational skills be explicitly taught to students so that they are aware of the importance of being organized and timely.

Regarding differentiation in the classroom, Hutchinson (2010) specifies that students can benefit from checkpoints for assignment or project completion and homework journals for nightly assignments. Students can be provided with clearly numbered, and written as well as oral instructions to begin, stay on and successfully complete tasks. Flexibility, teaching strategies for all content areas, allowing students to work at the place of their interest, and making accommodations so as to promote concentration as well as required movement in the classroom are some of differentiating techniques teachers can incorporate to enhance students’ learning experiences.

Teaching Strategies: Hutchinson recommends that teachers teach strategies and skills about how to learn things to students with learning disabilities. Sufficient time should be provided to students to learn these ideas. Note-taking, highlighting main ideas, organizing assignments and writing, making entries in a diary, working in groups, cognitive strategies, critical thinking and problem solving, enquiry and research strategies are some of the strategies students should be taught to make their learning experience a success.

Incorporating a Variety of Techniques and Materials: Hutchinson (2004) says it is always affirmative to incorporate a variety of materials and techniques in an inclusive setting. Incorporating visually oriented materials, and manipulatives, and teaching aids such as diagrams, organizational charts, graphic organizers, and videos would enhance students’ learning experiences. Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2008) recommend using gestures, body language, pictures, and objects to accompany speech; providing a model of a process, talks, or assignment; preview material for optimal learning; allowing alternative forms for expressing their understanding of information and concepts; using multimedia and other technologies in lessons, providing repeated exposure to words, concepts, and skills; and using sentence strips make students’ learning more productive.

Teaching can be scaffolded by paraphrasing what is already said or what is written, reinforcing contextual definitions for students to contextualize the meaning, and slowing speech, increasing pauses, speaking in phrases, and allowing students the wait time to process information (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008).

When needed, one-on-one teaching, coaching, and modeling can be incorporated. A buddy system can also be introduced.

Helping Students Speech-Read: According to Hutchinson (2004), using gestures and facial expressions, and trimming beards and moustaches if they interfere with speech-reading make students feel more comfortable. I would not mind at all following these suggestions. Hutchinson (2010) also says, “For students who are speech-reading, arrange the classroom so the student can see your face at all times, and get the student’s attention before speaking to him or her.”

Assisting Students in Reading: “Collaborative learning and guided or scaffolded learning to allow students to complete tasks, with support, before they would be able to complete them independently” can be used as Hutchinson points out. Studies show that incorporating prereading, during-reading, and postreading activities results in enhancing students’ participation and knowledge on content concepts.

Adapting Classroom Organization: It is important that teachers adapt classroom organization according to students’ needs. For instance, to enhance the learning of students with ADHD, Hutchinson (2010) suggests that classrooms be organized so as to provide the student with a carrel to minimize distracting factors. It is warned that this experience be “a high-status opportunity, not a punishment”. While incorporating ADAPT, Hutchinson further recommends that teachers maintain students’ interest, model by thinking aloud, and provide adequate opportunities for practice.

Building Relationship with Students: Knowles (2010) mainly advocates building proper relationships with students, and changing curriculum, instruction and assessment. Displaying warm welcome and respect, talking to and planning for individual students, valuing individual gifts and talents, and being a patient teacher and good listener are some of the strategies Knowles shares with us in regard to building relationships with students. For example, praising and rewarding positive behaviour, giving specific instructions, explicitly creating and encouraging students to follow classroom rules and routines, providing appropriate reprimands and prompts for behaviour, ignoring mild negative behaviour should be considered while working with students with ADHD (Schultz et el., 2011).

Though studies suggest little attention be given to inappropriate behaviour, Hutchinson (2010) reminds that a verbal reprimand – “immediate, unemotional, brief reprimand backed up with a time out or less of privileges” – might be necessary when behaviour is getting out of hand. Hutchinson further mentions “a time out” procedure, a punishment in which a student is removed from opportunities for reward.


Chaban, P. (2010. Spring).  ADHD: From intervention to implementation. Toronto: Canadian Education Association.

Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2008). Making content comprehensible for English  learners: The SIOP model.  New York: Pearson Education.

Hutchinson, N. L. (2004).  How much do I have to change for one student?  Teaching

 exceptional children  and adolescents: a Canadian casebook (pp. 89 – 96). Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.

Hutchinson N.L.  (2010).  Inclusion of Exceptional Learners in Canadian Schools:  A practical handbook for teachers.  Toronto:  Pearson Canada Inc.

Knowles, T. (2010).  The kids behind the label: Understanding ADHD.  The Education Digest, 76: 3, 59 – 61.

Martinussen, R. & Major, A. (2011).  Working memory weaknesses in students with ADHD: Implications for instruction.  Theory Into Practice, 50: 1, 68 – 75.

Ontario Ministry of Education.  (2001). Special education companion: Curriculum unit planner.

Retrieved April 28, 2011, from

Ontario Ministry of Education.  (2001). Special education companion: Curriculum unit planner.

Retrieved April 28, 2011, /documents/companions/speced2002.pdf

Schultz, B., Storer, J., Watabe, Y., Sadler, J., & Evans, W. (2011).  School-based treatment

of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  Psychology in the Schools, 48: 3.

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