|Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)|
A rationale for using graphic organizers in CBI
Graphic organizers are very versatile instructional tools that can easily be used to optimize content-based lessons. They can be used effectively in many different instructional settings, but they are particularly powerful when integrated into CBI activities, because they can, for example:
Graphic organizers may be used by individual students (either in class or for homework), pairs of students, or cooperative groups of learners. Teachers may also use them to model a variety of learning situations, e.g., reading strategies for comprehending a written or oral text, using new language structures, reviewing previously learned information, or drawing connections between sources.
In addition, using graphic organizers can help CBI instructors ensure that their students have the tools necessary to understand and use specific language structures. In fact, it is our belief that they can greatly help instructors to identify and articulate sound language objectives. When creating/modifying a graphic organizer, a CBI instructor should focus his/her attention on the language items (vocabulary, communicative functions, language structures) that students will need in order to complete the task. In doing so, the instructor can verify that the activity is compatible with the defined language objectives that have been set for the specific lesson. While engaged in this process, instructors can either adjust their "content obligatory" as well as their "content compatible" language objectives or they can adapt the language activity involving the graphic organizers to better suit the language objectives that were set to guide instruction. This language-focused process is described more in detail in the "important steps to follow" and "example section" included in this module.
Bellanca, J. (1992). The cooperative think tank II: Graphic organizers to teach thinking in the cooperative classroom. Palatine, Illinois: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing, Inc.
Nebraska Department of Education (1996). Nebraska K-12 Foreign Language Frameworks. Lincoln, Nebraska: Author.
Shaw, P. A. (1997). "With One Stone: Models of Instruction and Their Curricular Implications in an Advanced Content-Based Foreign Language Program." In S. B. Stryker & B. L. Leaver (Eds.), Content-Based Instruction in Foreign Language Education: Models and Methods. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
Winebrenner, S. (1996). Teaching kids with learning difficulties in the regular classroom. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.