SIOP: Content & Language Objectives
by Carla Worden
Pros for Content & Language Objectives
In the video "Building Background Knowledge," Vogt (n.d.) explains, "Our third feature in building background knowledge is a focused attention to key vocabulary and to the academic language of the lesson we are teaching. If youngsters don't have the perquisite vocabulary to learn about a content concept, I need to teach it to them explicitly, not just once, but, multiple times." Building background knowledge allows students to access prior lessons and life experiences in order to make connections to new content. By stating clear objectives teachers can clearly outline what previous concepts tie into present conversations. In other words, Echevaria, Vogt, and Short (2008) recognize, "Explicitly linking a lesson's key content and language concepts to a students' background knowledge and experiences enables them to forge connections between what they know and what they are learning," (p. 93).
How Written Objectives Affect Teachers and Students
According to Echevaria, Vogt and Short (2008), one teacher noted that, "defining the objectives every day brings focus to my planning and thinking, and it helps bring order to my classroom procedures," (p. 28). Simply by having order and routine in the classroom, it can allow second language learners to feel more comfortable knowing what to expect on a daily basis.
The emphasis on background knowledge allows teachers to hone a variety of resources when helping students make connections to prior content and language objectives. Echevaria, Vogt, and Short (2008) recognize, "...it is of critical importance that teachers build background knowledge using techniques that fill in the gaps, and helps students connect what they do know with what is being taught. And when teachers' explanations are made more concrete with supplementary materials (e.g. photos, models, illustrations, video clips), students are more likely to make the appropriate connections," (p. 67). Written objectives allow teachers to reflect, assess, and use multiple-modalities of learning in order to build clear learning objectives for students. It forces teachers to break down the learning process into manageable pieces for Second Language Learners, and allows all students to opportunity for clarification and reteaching when they become lost while learning a certain concept or lesson.
Making distinctions between key vocabulary and content objectives.
Visible and clearly labeled in the classroom. Reviewed by the teacher every day to establish routine.
Accessing Background Knowledge
clear objectives allow teachers to build off of students' prior knowledge by referring to material already covered or talking about life experiences.
At a Glance: Content and Language Objectives
Language Objectives are statements that identify what students should know and be able to do while learning English (or another language) in a given lesson. They support students' language development, often focusing on vocabulary, functional language, language skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, grammatical knowledge, and language learning strategies.