Sheltered Instruction - Definition

Definition

Sheltered Instruction, also referred to as SDAIE in California, is a teaching style founded on the concept of providing meaningful instruction in the content areas (social studies, math, science) for transitioning Limited English Proficient (LEP) students towards higher academic achievement while they reach English fluency. This method type is often used in mainstream secondary classrooms where the students have a foundation of English education. A variety of instruction is used including the theories of Vygotsky’s proximal development and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. Instead of providing watered down curriculum for LEP student, sheltered instruction allows for the content to be equal to that of native English speakers while improving their grasp of the language. The teacher provides varied methods of instruction that allow students to create meaning of multifaceted content in classroom discussion, activities, reading and writing. Teachers call on a number of different instruction methods such as the use of socialization practices, and the multiple intelligences to allow the content to be more accessible. The differences between ESL instruction and the use of sheltered instruction or SDAIE is that sheltered instruction does not focus entirely on language development; instead, through various other topics in the curriculum, English proficiency is achieved. Originally the intent of sheltered instruction was for students with a relatively strong grasp of the English language but lacking in writing and reading abilities. Since then the need for proficient teachers capable of sheltered instruction has increased. The ESL certified teachers and programs have decreased due to new legislation, but the number of LEP students is rising causing teachers to build upon their abilities to take on the linguistically diverse classroom.

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