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English as a Second Language

Category 2 - Strategies

Language learning strategies are steps taken by students to enhance their own learning.
Rebecca Oxford

In the Cycle One program, strategies refer to compensatory (i.e. communication) and learning strategies. Students reproduce actions modelled by the teacher to discover how strategies can help them become successful learners. Compensatory strategies and learning strategies contribute to developing the competency To communicate orally in English. Learning strategies also help develop the competency To act on understanding of texts.

In the Cycles Two and Three program, the same strategies, compensatory (i.e. communication) and learning, help develop the ESL competencies. As the cycles unfold, students broaden their repertoire. They can name the strategies, select and apply those appropriate for tasks, and reflect on their effectiveness. Compensatory and learning strategies contribute to developing the competency To interact orally in English. Learning strategies also help develop the competencies To reinvest understanding of oral and written texts and To write texts.

Learning context is a feature found in the ESL Progression of Learning chart that describes the conditions under which students progressively construct knowledge throughout the cycles. It highlights the differences in the learning environments as defined in the Cycle One and the Cycles Two and Three programs.

Elementary Cycle One Learning Context

Elementary Cycles Two and Three Learning Context

Natural emergence of strategies mostly through imitation of specific actions while engaged in tasks

Development of a repertoire of strategies through teacher modeling, guided student practice and independent use of these strategies by the student

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.

 

Student reinvests knowledge.

Elementary
  Cycle One   Cycle Two Cycle Three
1 2 3 4 5 6
A—COMPENSATORY STRATEGIES A—COMPENSATORY STRATEGIES
  Delay speaking
   
  • Buys time to think out a response
   
Asking for help Asking for help
  • Requests assistance
1
  • Requests assistance
   
Asking for clarification Asking for clarification
  • Requests speaker to repeat
1
  • Requests speaker to repeat or explain
   
Gesture Circumlocution
  • Uses physical motion to compensate for a lack of language
1
  • Makes up for the lack of a precise word or expression by substituting known words or expressions
B—LEARNING STRATEGIES B—LEARNING STRATEGIES
Physical response  
  • Acts out a response to show understanding and facilitate learning
1          
Self-monitoring Self-monitoring
   
  • Questions the pronunciation of new words read or heard
   
  • Selects and uses the appropriate strategies
  • Checks and adjusts ongoing performance
1
  • Checks and adjusts on-going performance
Self-evaluation Self-evaluation
  • Judges how well he/she has learned and performed so far
1
  • Reflects on what has been learned and how
  Planning
   
  • Asks oneself: What am I supposed to do? In what order? What resources do I need? What should I listen to or read? What should I say or write? How will I say it or write it?
Directed attention Attention
  • Decides to pay attention to a task and to ignore distractors
1
  • Decides to concentrate on the right things
 
   
  • Maintains attention during tasks
Use of prior knowledge Use of prior knowledge
  • Draws on own background knowledge as a source of information
1
  • Draws on own background knowledge as a source of information
Predicting Predicting
  • Foretells based on prior knowledge, task at hand, topic, pictures
1
  • Foretells based on prior knowledge, topic, task at hand, title, pictures, glancing through a text
Inferencing Inferencing
  • Makes intelligent guesses based on all available cues such as context, cognates, known words and expressions, visual clues, visual support, intonation, recurrent passages
1
  • Makes intelligent guesses based on all available cues such as context, cognates, known words and expressions, visual clues, contextual cues, intonation, patterns
Practice Practice
  • Repeats, rehearses, regroups, integrates and assimilates words and expressions (e.g. Joins in to sing songs and to say rhymes and recurrent passages of stories)
1
  • Repeats and rehearses, regroups, integrates and assimilates frequently used functional language
   
Using resources Resourcing
  • Makes use of human resources (e.g. teacher and peers)
1
  • Makes use of human resources (e.g. teacher and peers)
 
  • Makes use of material resources targeted for the task (e.g. posters, flashcards)
1
  • Makes use of material resources (e.g. word and expression banks, graphic organizers, posters, checklists, quick references, books, thematic and visual dictionaries, information technology)
 
  Note-taking
   
  • Writes down relevant information in an organized way (e.g. T-chart, Venn diagram, story web)
 
  Skimming
   
  • Glances through a text quickly to get a general impression and overview of the content
  Scanning
   
  • Looks for specific information in a text
Cooperation Cooperation
  • Works and learns with group and helps others
1
  • Works and learns with others; helps others
Risk-taking Risk-taking
  • Uses words, strings of words and expressions to communicate only in English
1
  • Dares to use functional language frequently used in class to speak only English, in spite of making errors
   
  • Experiments with known language
1
  • Experiments with known language
  • Attempts to integrate new language
1
  • Attempts to integrate new language
  Accepting not being able to understand everything listened to or read
   
  • Perseveres despite not understanding everything listened to or read, without getting overly anxious
   
1 The Cycle One student constructs new knowledge by gradually becoming aware of new language, strategies, language conventions, text components and cultural elements.

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