Dr Kristin Grayson

Science Success for English Learners – Podcast Episode 93 | Classnotes Podcast 93

Classnotes Podcast (August 26, 2011) At a time when we need more students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas, we are not seeing the dramatic improvement we need in achievement, particularly among English learners. While some are quick to conclude a lack of interest or motivation on the part of the students themselves, Veronica Betancourt, M.A., and Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., IDRA education associates, take a different view. For example, they have witnessed great improvements in science skills among secondary English learners by working with teachers to use a set of seven strategies for delivering instruction differently. In this episode, Veronica and Kristin give an overview of these seven strategies. A more detailed look at each will follow in the coming months. Veronica and Kristin are interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

Show length: 14:15

Send comments to podcast@idra.org.

Sign up for Classnotes e-mail alerts.


Differentiating Science Instruction using Language Proficiency Standards
By Veronica Betancourt , M.A., and Kristin Grayson , M.Ed., IDRA Newsletter

Aligning for Success: Using Contextual Analysis in Science Professional Development
By Kristin Grayson , M.Ed., IDRA Newsletter

Breaking the Bonds of Boredom in Science and Math
By Veronica Betancourt , M.A., IDRA Newsletter

Releasing the Mathematician and Scientist within Students
By Kathy Brown and Veronica Betancourt , M.A., IDRA Newsletter

You Can’t Win if You Don’t Get to Play – Effectively Engaging All English Language Learners
By Adela Solís, Ph.D., and Kristin Grayson , M.Ed., IDRA Newsletter

Education of English Language Learners in U.S. and Texas Schools – Where We Are, What We Have Learned and Where We Need to Go from Here – A 2009
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D., and Abelardo Villarreal , Ph.D.

Science Smart!
IDRA’s professional development that provides teachers with scientifically-based strategies to teach initiative scientific concepts, critical-thinking skills, problem-solving abilities and processes.

IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity
The federally-funded equity assistance center that serves schools and districts in Arkansas , Louisiana , New Mexico , Oklahoma and Texas.

Your feedback

We welcome your comments and questions to the podcast. Send an e-mail to podcast@idra.org.

Listen to every episode!

To ensure you don’t miss a single episode of IDRA Classnotes, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, (download iTunes free if you don’t have it) or sign up to receive an e-mail alert as soon as a new show is published.


Show Notes

  • Kristin and Veronica talk about the primary challenges educators face in working with English learners (ELs) in science education.

  • Veronica explains why teachers must create a more "equitable learning opportunity" for ELs in science, providing multiple learning contexts.

  • Kristin and Veronica offer an overview of the seven research-based “umbrella strategies” IDRA has developed for improving science instruction to ELs:
    - Build upon EL Language Proficiency for Effective Science Instruction
    - Design Asset-based Science Lessons for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms
    - Use Cooperative Groups to Maximize Language Usage, Global Interaction and Science Achievement in a Multicultural Setting
    - Scaffold and Spiral Language and Science Instruction for Increased Comprehension and Literacy Development
    - Foster Mutually Affirming Relationships, Curriculum Rigor and Relevance in Successful Bilingual and ESL Science
    - Maximize Use of Technology in Delivery of Effective Science and EL Instruction and Use Internet Resources to Supplement and Enrich Instruction of ELs
    - Establish Home-School Partnerships for Mutual Success in Teaching Science* Veronica and Kristin emphasize the important role families can play in supporting their children's success in science, particularly for ELs.

  • Veronica and Kristin discuss how coaching and mentoring can provide a "safe space" for teachers as part of the professional-development process.