Dans cette école de la ville de Sterling, près de Washington, on compte proportionnellement de moins en moins d'élèves dont la langue maternelle est l'anglais. Les enseignants ont dû s'adapter. Une nouvelle méthode leur aura permis de se perfectionner : "SIOP* emphasizes language and interactive activities and encourages teachers to build a contextual background before delving into a lesson's content, said Angela Robinson, 46, Sugarland's principal. The model was developed as a national research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education from 1996 through 2003 to help nonnative English-speaking students succeed in school, according to the Center for Applied Linguistics Web site."

"The research was intended to benefit English-language learners in middle and high schools, said Courtney Jones, a SIOP resource teacher for Loudoun County schools. Six years ago, Jones was one of two third-grade** teachers who received training in SIOP and brought it back to Sugarland to adapt the method to the elementary level. One year later, the teachers trained the school's entire staff in SIOP. Sugarland is the only elementary school in the region to use SIOP schoolwide, and the benefits are clear, Robinson said. She said SIOP has not only helped the students but has also transformed the school staff members. "Every teacher is a language teacher in this school," Robinson said."

Tout le monde semble y trouver son compte : "When Sugarland implemented SIOP schoolwide, it became clear that the benefits of the protocol applied to all students, not just English learners, Robinson said. "My gifted-and-talented kids are doing better, too; my English language speakers are doing better," she said."

Il n'y a pas de miracle selon Courtney Jones : "The improvement is not surprising, Jones said, because the core principles of SIOP are synonymous with good teaching. "It isn't about redefining teaching methods, just refining them," she said." […] "That type of interaction -- using a real experience instead of a description or a flat image -- is far more effective at helping kids retain information, because words are connected to something meaningful and memorable, Robinson said. "If I don't know what a pumpkin patch is because I just moved here from El Salvador, you can describe it all day long and it won't mean anything to me," she said."

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Source : The Washington Post, 21/10/10

(* Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol ** Le CE2)