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Sheltered Instruction, also referred to as SDAIE in California, is a teaching style founded on the concept of providing meaningful instruction in the content areas (social studies, math, science) for transitioning Limited English Proficient (LEP) students towards higher academic achievement while they reach English fluency. This method type is often used in mainstream secondary classrooms where the students have a foundation of English education. A variety of instruction is used including the theories of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. Instead of providing watered down curriculum for LEP student, sheltered instruction allows for the content to be equal to that of native English speakers while improving their grasp of the language. The teacher provides varied methods of instruction that allow students to create meaning of multifaceted content in classroom discussion, activities, reading and writing. Teachers call on a number of different instruction methods such as the use of socialization practices to allow the content to be more accessible. The differences between ESL instruction and the use of sheltered instruction or SDAIE is that sheltered instruction does not focus entirely on language development; instead, through various other topics in the curriculum, English proficiency is achieved. Originally the intent of sheltered instruction was for students with a relatively strong grasp of the English language but lacking in writing and reading abilities. Since then the need for proficient teachers capable of sheltered instruction has increased. The ESL certified teachers and programs have decreased due to new legislation, but the number of LEP students is rising causing teachers to build upon their abilities to take on the linguistically diverse classroom.
As in any instructional approach, the use of sheltered instruction is effective when the teacher is capable of administering the lessons effectively, although the causal direction of this tautologous observation is not clear. If the lesson is administered effectively, then, by definition, the teacher is capable of administering it effectively, but if it is not administered effectively, then it cannot be determined whether this is due to teacher factors or methodological weakness. Without a far more rigorous evaluation, the claim that this is a viable approach cannot be confirmed because it is assumed that any problems arise from teacher factors, not methodological weakness. Many pre-service teacher programs are working to equip teachers with the skills they need to be successful. Beginning with pre-service teachers achieving a strong foundation of cultural psychology, language theory and acquisition as well as certified content knowledge in their undergraduate major, the courses incorporate multiple field experiences as well as pedagogical methods and cultural diversity instruction. There are many alternative ways teachers can learn how to increase effectiveness of instructional delivery and create a culturally responsive classroom, including online resources . Some U.S. public schools receive Title III funding to help pay for these preparation courses. Title III is the part of the No Child Left Behind Act that authorizes funds for English Language acquisition programs, including Professional development for educators.
Since the basis of sheltered instruction or SDAIE is to provide a framework for language development then one of the simplest ways follow a set format of instruction. For example, beginning each lesson with an introductory activity that assesses the students’ knowledge in a non-threatening and non-graded format will allow the teacher to evaluate the students’ skill set. It is vitally important the teacher designs his/her lessons to clearly define language and content as well as make the activity meaningful through the linkage to past knowledge and present and supplemental materials. Some examples of lessons include hands-on and cooperative learning activities, vocabulary, and the use of visual clues. Teachers also place an emphasis on developing the students’ habits of organization and study skills. Teachers may use sheltered instruction within a variety of program models (e.g. immersion, pull out, team-teaching). Teachers may use sheltered instruction in a mainstream class to support English language learners, or a class may be specially designed, such as "Sheltered U.S. History." Such classes may include only English language learners or English language learners and English-fluent peers.
According to Michael Genzuk http://www.usc.edu/dept/education/CMMR/SDAIE/SDAIE_Genzuk.pdf, University of Southern California, SDAIE strategies typically include:
The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol  is a research-based observation instrument that is used to measure sheltered instruction (Guarino, Echevarria, Short, Schick, Forbes, & Rueda, 2001) and provides a model for lesson planning.
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