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What are the components of sheltered English instruction?

6. What are the components of sheltered English instruction?

While teachers of ELLs have used sheltered English instruction for many years, a consistent understanding of the components of sheltered instruction has emerged only within the past five years. In 1999 the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) was developed following intensive observation of sheltered English teaching across the United States (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004). The SIOP identifies 30 important elements of sheltered instruction under eight broad categories:

  1. Preparation
  2. Building Background
  3. Comprehensible Input
  4. Strategies
  5. Interaction
  6. Practice/Application
  7. Lesson Delivery
  8. Review and Assessment

Critical to effective sheltered instruction is the preparation of learning objectives for every lesson. These include content objectives, aligned with state and local content-area standards, and language objectives, aligned with state language proficiency benchmarks or language arts standards, or the national TESOL standards. Teachers communicate content and language objectives to students, design activities to achieve objectives throughout the lesson, and assess progress toward objectives by the end of the lesson. In this way learning, teaching and assessment are integrated into an ongoing process that provides feedback to students and informs future instruction.

Within each sheltered lesson the teacher seeks to ensure that students have sufficient background knowledge to tackle new curriculum material. Teachers modify their speech and, when necessary and feasible, content text so that English language learners can grasp important content concepts, facts, and questions. Teachers explicitly teach learning strategies – from teacher-centered to peer-supported to student centered – so that students develop a toolkit for accomplishing difficult learning tasks. Teachers also provide ample opportunities for students to interact in the target language around purposeful tasks that are meaningful to them.

Ever mindful of the lesson's framing objectives, sheltering teachers are careful to integrate listening, speaking, reading and writing skills into each lesson. They provide opportunities for students to apply their new knowledge through tasks that involve concepts and skills students have learned. Sheltering teachers work to engage all students at least 95% of the time in instructional activity, at the same time paying attention to pacing, so that no student is left behind.



Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D.J. (2004). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.