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Deemphasizing science vocabulary with English language learners


Some educators advocate scaffolding English language learners' scientific inquiry by frontloading vocabulary, while others urge deemphasizing vocabulary, at least at first. Most of the arguments on both sides, however, do not rely on fine-grained analysis of actual classroom video. By carrying out such analysis on pilot data, we reached the following conclusion to be tested in future work: Removing the instructional "support" of front-loading vocabulary can help students (re)frame their classroom activity as sense-making, leading to inquiry in which the students help decide when and how to emphasize vocabulary.