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purple arrow (1137 bytes) Curriculum Guide to Using Captioned Television with Language Minority Students

REFERENCES: Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. New York: Pergamon.

Krashen, S. (1989). We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the input hypothesis. The Modern Language Journal, 73, 440-464.

Neuman, S.B. (1990, June). Curriculum guide: The new "English" teacher: A guide to using captioned television with language minority students. Vienna, Virginia: National Captioning Institute.

CONTEXT: A new conceptual model of second language acquisition suggests that children can learn a great deal of language informally through "comprehensible input." Stimulated by the sheer exposure of print both in and out of school, this approach proposes that children acquire language and literacy incidentally without formal instruction. These findings have led to recommendations that successful language programs need to be highly motivating, non-evaluative, and involve linguistic minority children in ways that they temporarily seem to "forget" that they are hearing or reading another language. In recent years, a new kind of comprehensible input, in the form of captioned television, has become available to many teachers of ESL classrooms. The multi-sensory characteristics of captioned video (video, audio and print) offer students the opportunity to enlarge their vocabulary by viewing words in meaningful and stimulating contexts.

DESCRIPTION: This teachers guide explains the equipment necessary to record and play back captioned programs and suggests ways for teachers to prepare for using this kind of television in the classroom. The guide has 23 lessons and activities, with worksheets to accompany some of them. One sample lessons is "Using Context Clues."

This lesson focuses on using context clues for vocabulary building. In this strategy, the teacher models procedures for examining the context of a word to derive its meaning, provides practice for the students, and prepares them to better understand their reading materials and enlarge their oral and written vocabulary.

The activity involves 5 steps:

  1. Have students view a favorite captioned TV program. Situation comedies are especially useful because of their emphasis on word play.
  2. Choose several vocabulary words that have multiple meanings.
  3. Before showing the tape, give the students a list of target words to watch for while viewing and reading the program. Discuss that many words have multiple meanings and that they must look for context clues to determine the specific meaning of the word in this context.
  4. Next, have the students watch and read. You may wish to stop the tape at certain points to let the students take notes.
  5. Discuss the words and definitions. How did the students determine the meanings of the words? Why did the meaning fit in this context? Could another word have been used?


National Captioning Institute
1900 Gallows Road, Suite 3000
Vienna, VA 22182
Voice & TTY: (703) 917-7600

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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