Why should I use SIOP to plan and teach my lessons?

8 Ways SIOP can scaffold you into success!

Many teaching models may come and go.  Just think of how the approaches to teaching reading swung from phonics to whole language and back to phonics again or the how the Audio Lingual Method of language learning was replaced by a Communicative Approach to teaching another language.

John Kongsvik TESOL Trainers K-12 PD
SIOP supports ALL students, not just ELLs.
SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) has been around since the mid 90s and shows no signs of going anywhere. So what gives SIOP its resilience?

First, SIOP is not a teaching method.  Rather, it is a set of objectives that all effective teaching exhibits, regardless of the approach or method.

Secondly, the SIOP framework can be used to make any lesson on any subject more effective and more efficient.

SIOP's 8 components & 30 features illuminate important factors an effective teacher considers when planning, incorporates while teaching, and reflects upon once the lesson is over.  While these features are all vital ingredients of any successful lesson, there are 8 key ways SIOP can help create excellence in teaching and learning in your classroom.

SIOP Framework Overview

8 ways SIOP can help you become a more effective teacher

Of all of the wonderful benefits of using SIOP when planning and teaching, there are 8 critical ways using SIOP will transform teaching and learning.  Here they are:
  1. SIOP encourages teachers to consciously focus on language as well as content.  This attention to language helps teachers consider the domain of language they will use (speaking, listening, reading, writing) and the kind of language students will use (vocabulary, functions, intonation, etc) while interacting with the content and one another.  Just notice how many times language is referenced in SIOP in each of the 8 components.  SIOP gets us to decide on a language objective, consider how to teach it, determine all the ways students will practice the language during the class, and figure out how we'll measure the objective. SIOP tells us that language must be consciously dealt with.
  2. SIOP helps us consciously consider how to connect students to the language, to the content, and to one another.  As teachers, we understand that we should begin where the students are, not where they aren't.  Yet, if we don't make this a concrete step in our lessons, it often doesn't get done.  In fact, the effective learner is the one who is capable of making his/her own connections.  Most students need to be scaffolded into being able to do this.  This can be as simple as saying, "turn to your partner and tell your partner 3 things this topic makes you think of," or far more detailed (e.g. KWL).  Consciously choosing a learning strategy to highlight and work on makes all the difference to those students who did not come to school with this skill set.
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  3. SIOP tells teachers its all about making content comprehensible.  While Comprehensible Input is only one of eight components of SIOP, its tentacles reach into all aspects of SIOP.  In addition to making teachers more aware of how comprehensible their speech is to their students, it also encourages bring clarity to instructions.  The final feature in this component asks teachers to use variety throughout a lesson.  All three of these features play direct or supporting roles in the other 7 components of SIOP.  If students don't understand the content, the language, or the activity, little can be taught.  Thus, insuring every step in our lesson is as comprehensible as possible helps make learning more efficient and more effective.
  4. SIOP tells teachers to consciously teach learning strategies.  Students who use learning strategies (summarizing, re-reading, drawing visuals, etc) effectively are the students who perform effectively in skill assessments.  Yet, often the students who need to use the strategies the most are the ones who don't even use them.  More than likely, it's because these students were never transparently taught how to use a learning strategy.  SIOP reminds teachers to consider what learning strategies to highlight and how to scaffold students into being able to use that strategy independently.
  5. SIOP stresses that students learn more from one another than they do from their teachers.  No matter how 'cool' we are, students actually think their peers are 'cooler'.  No matter how much we think students enjoy working with us, they prefer interacting with one another.  The effective teacher is the one who understands the value of having students work with other students and incorporates this into every lesson. Teachers who struggle with classroom management tend to avoid cooperative learning activities.   We have to transparently teach our students how to work in groups effectively.  The outcome of students working well with other students is well worth the effort!
  6. SIOP reminds teachers of the importance of getting students to use all the four domains of language while learning.  Research tells us that the propensity to learn increases when students use all four language skills to complete a task.  The Common Core State Standards reflect this critical aspect of teaching and learning by including speaking and listening into the reading and writing standards teaching has traditionally focused on.  SIOP mentions the integration of the four domains of language several times.  Using all four language skills helps students show off their strengths and develop new ones.
  7. SIOP gets educators to consider how they are engaging their students throughout the lesson.  Not only does SIOP stress the importance of engagement, it also gives us a bar to reach for:  engage your students 90-100% of the time.  Anyone who has taught for more than a day knows that if the students aren't engaged it's not worth even going on. Engaging students doesn't mean throw them a party and turning everything into a game.  We can engage students
    John Kongsvik TESOL Trainers K-12 PD
    in a variety of simple, effective ways.  In fact, many of the other features remind us of how we can engage our students (clear instructions, wait time, scaffolding, etc).  No matter where we are in our lesson, we must be aware of how we are making students active participants in their own learning.
  8. SIOP reminds teachers to not just assess student progress but to share that assessment with them.  Effective teachers assess their students in a variety of ways throughout a lesson pinpointing both macro and micro issues.  Effective learners know how to use assessment data to adjust their own approach to learning.  SIOP underscores the necessity of both assessing students and sharing that data with them.  Teaching students how to use assessment data to make, measure, and adjust goals creates responsible learners.
SIOP provides teachers with a detailed guide to use when planning, teaching, and reflecting on a lesson.  Rather than going for 'shot-in-the-dark-planning', SIOP can help us make sure we've considered everything.  Rather than just teaching the same ole way (whether or not it really works), SIOP challenges teachers to take different approaches.  Rather than merely telling ourselves, "well, that went well," or "well, that bombed," SIOP gives us a clear list of what may have helped learning and how we could have helped it even more.

I guess that you could call this the 9th reason why you should use SIOP.  Regardless, if you are interested in taking your own teaching to the next level, you should check SIOP out as well.

John Kongsvik TESOL Trainers K-12 PD
TESOL Trainers is the leading provider in experiential professional development in SIOP.  Our approach to teacher training is highly engaging and very empowering.  We offer experiential K-12 professional development on many topics:

Visit our website to learn more or contact us today and find out how we can set you up for success.  John Kongsvik and his team of experiential trainers will design a training format on the Principles & Practices of SIOP. 

TESOL Trainers, offers short and long term professional development for educators worldwide.   

Visit us at www.tesoltrainers.com to learn more. 



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