C6 Biliteracy Framework™

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In my duallanguageschools.org February 2019 article, I shared information regarding the recently released C6 Biliteracy Framework™. As I wrote in that piece, for the longest time, dual language educators have used lesson planning frameworks not specifically conceptualized to serve the needs of students in dual language classrooms. Like many things in dual language, we are often presented with pedagogical resources and tools that are designed via a monolingual lens, or to serve students matriculated in traditional educational settings, and then, asked “to make it our own” for a dual language context.

Before moving forward, the following reflection questions might assist in fully understanding the present state of our dual language lesson planning process:

  • How do I ensure that the lessons I create are planned and facilitated through an additive instructional lens?
  • How have I not?
  • What specific framework does our team use to lesson plan for the dual language classroom?
  • What steps do I need to take in order to fully align with the 3 goals of dual language education and/or the Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education: Third Edition?

The C6 Biliteracy Framework™ was created specifically to facilitate the lesson planning process for teachers serving in dual language programs. It is aligned with the literature reviews and rubrics presented in the Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education: Third Edition and also, specifically designed with the three goals of dual language in mind. That is, lesson planning via the framework provides a path for students to become bilingual/biliterate, reach grade level academic achievement in both program languages, and understand the importance of working towards sociocultural competence on a daily basis.

Continue reading to learn more about the C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework…

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And so, I introduce the first C in the lesson planning framework – Create.

  • Create and design authentic learning experiences that bring together content, language, and culture.
  • Content Learning Target
  • Language Learning Target
  • Culture Learning Target

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Dual language teachers, when facilitating instruction in either program language, and/or both, must create access to grade level standards regardless of students’ language proficiency in the language of instruction. This means that educators must specifically plan lessons that will integrate content, language, and culture, as a means to create educational access for every student served in the dual language classroom.

However, even in dual language programs, often there is a need to clarify the importance and purpose of learning targets. Moss and Brookhart (2012) remind us that learning targets are student-friendly descriptions (via words, pictures, actions, and/or a combination of the three) of what you intend students to learn or accomplish in a given lesson. Moreover, Moss and Brookhart clarify that it’s not a learning target unless both the teacher(s) and the students aim for it during the daily lesson.

By creating learning targets for the students, and not for the administrators or adults that might walk into the dual language classroom, teachers ensure that students continue to actively take ownership of their learning and thus, increase student achievement.

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Continue reading to learn more about the C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework…

Dual language educators must be very clear in their understanding of the purpose for each type of learning target in the classroom. But, even more importantly, students too, should deeply understand the content, language, and cultural learning targets as a way to move closer to personally achieving the daily learning goals, and ultimately, how they support the three pillars of dual language.

As a point of reference, generally, the three types of learning targets may be defined as:

  • Content learning target: Standards-driven, grade-level content information that students must be able to access in either program language.
  • Language learning target: The language needed, via the 4+1 language domains (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and metalinguistic awareness), in order for students to access and practice the grade level standards.
  • Culture learning target: Allows students to connect content and language to self, community, and/or to real world scenarios.

Most of us feel most comfortable in creating content learning targets because they are derived from the standards that we are charged to teach. One recommendation is to take what we know about content learning targets and simplify the creation in order to give full ownership to the students. “I can” learning targets offer students that immediate connection to what the focus of the learning will be. It is helpful to think of the content learning target as the “what” the students will be focusing on.

Language learning targets are more complex because teachers must identify what language will be needed by the students to access the standard/standards being targeted. These too, should be written in “I can” format in order to allow students to identify their own language goals for the lesson. A teacher must identify which language domain(s) the students will be targeting as a means to access the standard. Echevarría et al. (2017) also remind that one can strengthen a language learning target by focusing on academic vocabulary, language structures/grammar, or learning strategies. Sharing with students that the language learning target, by practicing listening/speaking/reading/writing/metalinguistic awareness, allows each of them to learn any content, in any language, is extremely important. The language learning target is referred to, by some dual language teachers as “the how” students will demonstrate that they have accessed the content learning target.

The dual language goal that is sometimes ignored is that of sociocultural competence. As a reminder, work on sociocultural competence allows students to better see the differences and similarities in each other – but, to see the differences as opportunities to connect rather than obstacles to overcome. It is the goal in dual language programming, that empowers students to embrace their full identities, while also advocating for all people. The cultural learning target allows teachers to specifically plan for this important goal. By specifically engaging in dialogue, through content, that inspires students to advocacy and service to others, the cultural learning target becomes vital in a dual language program. Additionally, the cultural learning target allows students to make real world connections to all that is learned in the dual language classroom. In essence, it becomes “the why” for the content and language learning targets.

As we continue to strive to best serve emergent bilingual students in dual language programs, it is imperative that we take a close look at our practice in terms of learning targets. Some questions to consider are:

  • Are the content, language, and cultural learning targets located in the same place and written in the color assigned to the program language?
  • Are the learning targets student-friendly and written in “I can” format?
  • Are the learning targets reviewed several times during each lesson?
  • Can the students explain each of the learning targets and their importance?
  • Do the learning targets really belong to and are owned by the students?

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If you are reading this article, thank you for the work you do on behalf of emergent bilingual students in dual language programs. Know that your work is valued and important. It is the hope of our team, that the C6 Biliteracy Framework™, and this focus on Create, are tools to better support the students that you serve each day!

Stay tuned! Next month, our focus will be on connecting learning experiences to students’ lives and linguistic repertoires!

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