Teachers discuss lessons learned in UNT bilingual/ESL science institute

Denton ISD middle school science teachers Jonathan Hernandez and Sabrina Estrada presented at the National Association of Bilingual Education Conference in Dallas this spring about their experience at last year’s science teacher summer institute on the UNT campus. The institute was sponsored by the UNT Department of Teacher Education and Administration's Bilingual/ESL Education Office, the Department of Biological Sciences and the College of Engineering and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Hernandez and Estrada, both Latino science teachers working with English Language Learners, discussed what they learned from senior scientists at UNT regarding the advances in the research of biosynthesis and engineering of c-lignin and relating it to instruction for English Language Learners in secondary grades. Their presentation focused specifically on the biochemistry of cell walls, cell wall anatomy, gene expression and the engineering of carbon fibers.

The UNT summer institute allowed bilingual/ESL teachers to attend classes with research scientists, conduct experiments and develop instructional objectives to create lesson plans that will help pass on their new knowledge to English Language Learners. The goal is to engage more Hispanic students in scientific fields, said Rossana Boyd, principal lecturer in UNT’s Department of Teacher Education and Administration, part of the College of Education.

During the NABE presentation, Hernandez and Estrada shared with fellow teachers, student teachers and administrators some of the lesson plans and in-class activities they developed — in English and Spanish — during the summer institute and that they implemented with their students earlier this year. Replicating the experiments observed in the laboratories of UNT scientists, the lesson plans were designed to engage bilingual students through the visualization of concepts and processes with hands-on activities while including state content standards and English Language Proficiency standards.

Read more about the summer institute here

 

Above, Jonathan Hernandez and Sabrina Estrada point out a picture of a laboratory experiment provided by Aaron Harkleroad, graduate assistant and doctoral student in UNT's Department of Biological Sciences, during their presentation on laboratory experiments performed with UNT scientists.