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.


About Raj Khatri

In addition to providing mentoring services to pre-service ESL/EFL instructors, I have always enjoyed for over 15 years facilitating both adult and K-12 ESL and EAP classes that include international, immigrant and refugee students in a variety of settings across North America and South Asia. The opportunity to work as TESL Practicum Supervisor at the Department of Linguistics of the University of Victoria between 2014 and 2019 helped me share with and learn from colleagues and enhance my knowledge and expertise in the field.  I had served as an ESL Instructor III at the University of Regina for two years and a half before joining Camosun College as an ELD Instructor in the fall of 2014. I always appreciate the opportunity I was provided with to facilitate EAP, ESL, LBS and LINC classes in various capacities, including Professor at Centennial College, Instructor at the Toronto Catholic District School Board, Seneca College, and Centennial College in Toronto, and Lecturer at Padma Kanya Multiple Campus (Tribhuvan University affiliated) and Teacher at GEMS in Kathmandu. Awarded the University of Victoria Fellowship (2014) and the Geoffrey & Alix O'Grady Scholarship in Linguistics for Academic Excellence, I am currently working with Dr. Huang on my doctoral studies in linguistics, with a major focus of research in applied linguistics, while still continuing to facilitate EAP classes and supervise TESL practicum students in BC. Before I completed my Special Education program with Honors at Queen’s University in Ontario and got certified to teach in the K-12 public education system as an Ontario College teacher (OCT), as well as to teach adult ESL classes as a TESL Ontario accredited instructor in 2009, I had worked with Dr. Haulman and earned my second Master’s degree in TESL at the University of Central Oklahoma, where I had received the President’s Honor Roll for four consecutive semesters and graduated Summa Cum Laude. I was deeply honored when Brad Henry, then Governor of the State of Oklahoma in the United States, recognized my public input about college safety and public education in 2007 and 2008. Holding the belief that it is important to give back to the community, I have always been engaged in voluntary activities, both in professional and community-related areas and have been enjoying working with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. My voluntary services extend from providing support to schools and school libraries and in Nepal to facilitating ESL/EAP classrooms at various settings, including at the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Regina Public Schools and supporting voluntary organizations that include the Regina Food Bank, the Salvation Army (Regina), the Regina Green Patch, and Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society in various capacities. I have been an accredited member of TESL Canada (Professional Standard III Permanent, since 2009), and Ontario College of Teachers (OCT; since 2010), and I hold Saskatchewan Professional 'A' Certificate. As well, as a member, I have been participating in professional development activities at TESOL and BC TEAL since 2007 and 2013 respectively. My areas of research interests are second language reading strategies, second language writing, intercultural communication and classroom practices, and adult ELLs with disabilities. Thank you for visiting! Happy Exploring!
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2 Responses to SIOP “Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol” and ESL Classrooms

  1. Hello Raj , I felt like a kid in education reading about your background , I am just an English teacher with 7 years of experience , your blog caught my attention due your reply on SIOP Model article .
    Keep going on your trip .
    Moses .

  2. Raj Khatri says:

    Dear Moises

    Thank you for your comments and support! I have visited your blog too, and it is full of ideas which are applicable to most of the teaching settings! The SIOP Model is something I studied in the States, and I use most of the strategies when teaching ESL students in Canada. Wish you all the best! Regards

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