Starting out with the SIOP Model: Two Teachers’ Story

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Below is a story shared with us by Patricia Bradley of the Western Academy of Beijing about her and fellow teacher Eleanor Brock’s experiences implementing the SIOP Model in their classrooms and school. We thought it might be inspiring to others just starting out with the Model and so wanted to share it with you.

My colleague Eleanor and I set a goal at the beginning of the year to implement the whole model in our classes. We soon realized that the whole model was too much to take on all at once so we decided to concentrate on the first two features, CO [content objectives] and LO [language objectives].

We saw such dramatic changes in our teaching and the student learning that we made a presentation to our faculty and invited those interested to join us in committing to writing a CO and LO for two weeks. Eleanor and I sent out daily emails to support our 16 colleagues—essentially, we made the content about objectives in the SIOP book comprehensible for our colleagues. At the end of the two weeks, we asked the teachers to survey their students. We also met as a group with the HS principal to share our experience.

The results of the experiment far exceeded our expectations. Of the 125 students surveyed, 94.4% found the COs helpful, 85.6% found the LOs helpful. In a follow-up meeting with the HS principal, the teachers spoke of the new clarity they have about their lessons, the increased empathy they have for students, and the changes they see in student work. Eleanor and I are amazed at the impact that just these two features have had. We think they might be the most important of the whole SIOP model!

I’ve been teaching for 32 years—10 in the States and 22 overseas. I will be leaving my ESL teaching job at Western Academy of Beijing in June for what my husband and I are calling our “extended sabbatical”.  My SIOP work has helped make this year one of the best in my teaching career.

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