Direct Experience Approach
This paper provides a critique to articles describing the instructional strategy – direct experience approach. Its application’s focus is literacy development for first and second language learners in the science field. A question that I posed is: “How does a direct experience approach enlighten the process of science study for ELLs”. I have to underline that a direct experience strategy provides numerous advantages to make a process of difficult science vocabulary learning and processes understanding easier.
Cervette and Pearson (2012) state that to study science for English language learners is a very complicated task. Besides the difficulty in comprehending different processes, students should get used to new vocabulary and terms. It is a frustrating place for ELL where they cannot even explain and understand the most evident issues without necessary level of English. The authors underline that the most important issue in helping ELLs to study science is to provide context. This means that vocabulary and process description are not given as abstract terms. A teacher provides examples and explains the new words, phrases, gives definition using the contextual messages.
Direct experience allows students to receive knowledge through their own try-and-know activities. For some students visualization is invaluable. Visualization requires a little speaking, listening and writing. Instead, it creates visual objects that are easier to remember and recall in the future. Students with different linguistic skills can interpret pictures, charts and graphs easily. Visual literacy is important to learn English and science. Such visualizations can be in the form of scientific diagrams, photographic analysis, vector diagrams, map development, movie analysis. This helps to allow students to study on their own example and direct experience how difficult terms and processes can be visualized. It is also important to use graphic organizers. It is a part of meaningful learning. ELLs choosing to study science can learn the relationship between different concepts with the help of maps and diagrams. They are conceptual grids, flow charts, Venn diagrams, mind maps and concept maps. It is useful to present information to ELLs who study science in the form of line graphs, bar and column charts, area graphs. It should be state that more attention should be paid to science video. Even native speakers cannot understand and remember all issues described in the science video. Therefore, it is needed to make pause in the video, invite students to discuss key concepts, repeat it. Slow motion, step-frame and replay should be used to keep students’ attention on the most important issues.Moreover, it is important to give students the possibility to observe the unknown words, and processes with the help of real-life objects – realia. Such a technique allows making science lessons more memorable to students. They do not only receive virtual messages but can try and see in a real life the processes they discuss.
A strong link is created between the words, phrases and objects. Using the realia saves times for teacher and student because there is no more need for long explanation …