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Verbs for Language Objectives

What are some examples of process-oriented and performance-oriented verbs? How can these be adapted in different lesson objectives?

When considering which language objectives to include in a lesson and how to write them, it is important to keep in mind that acquiring a second language is a process (Cummins, 1996). As such, language objectives may cover a range from process-oriented to performance-oriented statements so that students have a chance to explore, and then practice, before demonstrating mastery of an objective (Cummins, 2015). Some examples of process-oriented verbs are: discuss, express, identify, restate, summarize, and practice. Some examples of performance-oriented verbs are paraphrase, argue, complete, read, and respond.

Some of the ways these verbs can be applied in any lesson objectives: (1) The process-oriented verb “identify” can be used when a teacher reads a story to his/her class. Specifically, it will be written as “Students will be able to identify the main idea of the story.” This is one of the language objectives that can be created for when a lesson involves a read-aloud or any reading of kind. Correspondingly, for (2) the performance-oriented verb “paraphrase,” students can be asked to paraphrase some main points or dialogues in the story. With this, students are on the verge of moving to a higher order of thinking because they are creating their own scenario or statement based on what they have heard or seen. These are some of the examples of how process-oriented and performance-oriented verbs when building language objectives can be utilized.

What are some examples of verbs for content objectives and for language objectives?

Some examples of verbs for content objectives are: identify, solve, investigate, distinguish, hypothesize, create, select, and draw conclusions about (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008). These verbs focus on the acquisition of skills and/or knowledge that are generally directed to specific content areas. Some examples of verbs for language objectives are: listen for, retell, define, find the main idea, compare, summarize, rehearse, persuade, and write (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008). These verbs are concentrated on allowing for improvement in language acquisition and proficiency.

Cummins, J. (1996) Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society.

Cummins, J. (2015) Schooling and language minority students: A theoretical framework.

Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2008) Making content comprehensible for english learners.

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