Why is it important to know the difference?
As dual-language educators it is crucial to understand the difference between language and content objectives. I learned a lot more about this topic, when I was asked by my principal to help a teacher write language objectives in her lesson plans. I will never forget the day, when I met with Mrs.G. Imagine this scenario...
Mrs. G had been teaching first grade for twelve years. She had deep content area knowledge and wanted to provide all of her students with authentic activities to relate the significance of academic concepts. Mrs. G always felt successful at teaching her class, but that year had been different. She had students with more diverse backgrounds than previous years, particularly students that where beginner speakers in both languages.
As Mrs. G was beginning to feel frustrated with her inability to reach all her students because of their needs. As a result, we discussed about the most important method she had to implement to make her content more comprehensible to all her students — creating and posting objectives that tell the students not just what content concepts they will learn in each lesson, but also the academic language they will need to learn and use to meet the academy standards. With this knowledge, Mrs. G felt more confident that she not only knew what to teach, but also how to teach it so that all her students can be successful.
What are content objectives?
Content objectives are characterized by facts, concepts and skills. There are state, district, school and teacher standards.
What are language objectives?Language objectives define the language domains (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and make the context comprehensible.
English language learners who have academic language proficiency understand the English that enables them to access learning needed for academic achievement. Language proficiency incorporates both social language proficiency and academic language proficiency.