brushing teeth with water running or
watering their lawn during the hottest
time of day).
Of course, all students should
understand the purpose of their
homework (Hill & Miller, 2013). So
it’s important to ensure that beginning
ELLs understand the goals and
purpose behind each assignment, as
well as to accommodate their language
stage. We give homework so students
can practice or elaborate on what
they’ve already learned or prepare for
upcoming instruction. When every
student receives the same homework
assignment, ELLs may struggle
because they haven’t learned the skills
they’re supposed to practice through
that task. They may even practice
incorrectly (Hill & Miller, 2013).
4 Do engage Preproduction
students at the same level of
thinking as other students.
An important don’t also accompanies
this do: Don’t water down the curriculum for ELLs at early levels of
English acquisition. When applying
tiered questions with students who are
in the process of acquiring English,
it’s important to distinguish between
low-level questions, which lead to
low levels of thinking, and high-level
questions, which promote higher-order thinking.
The five stages of second language
acquisition must not be equated with
the six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy
(Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, &
Krathwohl, 1956), which categorizes thinking activity, from lowest
to highest, into Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis,
Synthesis, and Evaluation. The critical-thinking ability of Preproduction
students, for example, does not
automatically correspond to Knowledge,
the lowest level of Bloom’s taxonomy.
How well a student can speak a second
Source: From Using Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners (2nd ed.) (p. 12)
by J. D. Hill and K. B. Miller, 2013, Alexandria, VA: ASCD © 2013 by McREL. Adapted with permission.
Stage Characteristics of Student Verbalization: The student. . . Tiered Questions (Prompts)
Preproduction Has minimal comprehension
May not verbalize
Nods “yes” and “no”
Draws and points
Show me. . .
Circle the. . .
Where is . . .
Who has . . .
Has limited comprehension
Produces one- or two-word
Participates using key words
and familiar phrases
Uses -ing verbs
Who, what, and
how many questions
Has good comprehension
Can produce simple sentences
Makes grammatical and pro-
Why . . .
How . . .
Explain. . .
Has excellent comprehension
Makes few grammatical errors
What would happen if
. . .
Why do you think . . .
more than a one-sentence response
Has a near-native level of
Decide if. . .
Retell. . .
FIGURE 1. Stages of Second Language Acquisition and Tiered Questions