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EMI (English Mediated Instruction) 7- Explain, Demonstrate, Model


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Explain to bridge the language gap and teach technical vocabulary

Explaining is when you tell students the content, and is what most people think of when they think of lectures. Yet explaining time should generally be minimized for active learning. In the EMI classroom, explaining should be used to bridge the gap between English language text preparation and first language knowledge.

Incomprehensible explanation

  1. Difficult vocabulary impedes comprehension

  2. Complex vocabulary is often unnecessary to explain

  3. Technical vocabulary should be pre-taught using the L1 language

  4. Demonstrate to vary teaching modalities and bring the topic to life

Comprehensible explanation

  1. Information, facts, and principles using the third person

  2. Steps for approaching questions and solving problems using "you" or "we"

  3. Translation of unfamiliar and commonly confused terms

Limit explanation time in class by curating informative, native language videos and examples, native language videos, and examples to complement student reading outside of class.

Example of Explaining

  1. Another word for this is

  2. The English word is...

  3. In (Native language) it's...

  4. We call this the...

  5. First, you would do this...

  6. Next, you would do that


Demonstrate to vary reaching modify and bring the topic to life

We define demonstrating specifically as using a physical object to advance a learning objective. They help visual learners and kinesthetic learners and are especially helpful in the EMI classroom as demonstrations do not rely on language to convey meaning. The physical objects themselves should advance the learning objective, however, and therefore using whiteboards or PowerPoint slides are not for purposes considered demonstration objects.

Irrelevant demonstration

  1. Pointing is not demonstrating

  2. Drawing materials are redundant

  3. The demonstration does not use relevant object

  4. Students are not illuminated about how, why, what

Relevant demonstration

  1. Use physical objects and tactile experiences that advance the lesson

  2. Ensure physical activities advance the lesson rather than expand the time

Carefully select physical objects that are easy to handle, and can be seen and understood from any seat in your classroom.

Example of Demonstrating

  1. See this here? It's a

  2. This here is a...

  3. Below this is a...

  4. Above this is the...

  5. Behind this is your...


Model to expose your thinking and instill-order thinking skills

Modeling is where the teacher reveals their strategic thinking to the class, describing how she thinks about a problem, thinks about an approach, or evaluates possible ways to solve a problem. This demystifies the 'why' that many students find baffling when they strive to understand and not just memorize. Modeling is the teaching foundation that allows students to develop higher-order thinking skills, regardless of language ability. Unfortunately, often teachers spend most of the class time exclusively on explaining using complex or new vocabulary, without bridging the language gap.

Telling not modeling

  1. Approach to the problem not revealed

  2. Answer emphasized, rather than problem-solving

  3. No transferable knowledge gained

Telling modeling

  1. The strategic thinking behind your approach, evaluation, or understanding

  2. Use the personal "I" first person

  3. Check for student understanding after modeling

Script demonstrations and modeling before teaching to ensure clarity.

Example of Modeling

  1. First I would think about this...

  2. First I would ask myself...

  3. I first think

  4. I next focus on

  5. I next ask myself


Benefits of effective class discussion

  1. Improves conceptual understanding

  2. Improves knowledge retention

  3. Develops higher-order thinking skills

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