Enriching English Instruction Essay

1116 Words 5 Pages
Despite the rapidly shrinking budgets for arts programs and the growing de-emphasization of English as a relevant field of study, the lessons learned and taught in English classrooms still forms the foundation of learning throughout a student’s academic career. For most American students the English language will serve as the lens through which they view other subjects, and reading comprehension will be the tool that lets them learn from those subjects. Without an adequate foundation in such a core subject, students are simply thrown into the water and “even if they manage to swim, we cannot reasonably expect them to enjoy being in the water” (Brown & Broemmel, 2011). Effective instruction in English and Language Arts, then, should be …show more content…
As such it should be included at every possible opportunity. For example, in introducing the themes of the Scarlet Letter, a traditional teacher might ask students what they know about the pilgrims or puritans on whom the book is centered. That question will primarily provoke a few rehearsed and regurgitated responses dominated by pre-existing cultural ideas and stereotypes that will not provide any deeper connection to the text and its ideas. A teacher using deep scaffolding would focus the discussion on the students, perhaps asking questions about their own experiences with ostracism or violating cultural and community standards. Rather than reciting a Peanut’s Thanksgiving special, students are encouraged to connect their own experiences to Hester Prynne’s.
Broemmel and Brown’s proposal of deep scaffolding was born out of meeting the needs of English language learners, who are frequently at a cultural and skill-based disadvantage in English and Language Arts classrooms. However their research showed that “many of the instructional practices that help ELLs understand can also support NSEs” (Broemmel & Brown). This insight allows deep scaffolding to serve as a valuable instructional model to which an adventurous teacher can add a much larger variety of enriched instructional techniques.
Vocabulary instruction, generally seen as the refuge of boring lists and rote memorization, is one such place where a focus…