Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 2009
Computer-Based Concept Mapping: An Effective Academic Tool for Social Studies Teachers to Help with Linguistic and Academic Development of English Language Learners
University of Florida
Academic language in social studies lessons is challenging for English Language Learners because of the language barrier. Social studies teachers need to make use of effective techniques that can help English Language Learners overcome the language barrier. Graphic organizers are promising tools for making content more comprehensible for English Language Learners. In this article it is suggested that Inspiration®, a software program that allows production of electronic concept maps in an easy process with minimum learning curve, can help social studies teachers teach English Language Learners more effectively, as well as enhance their language development. Inspiration® is presented as an instructional tool that can help social studies teachers understand the linguistic needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) and incorporate appropriate academic language of different types of language functions prevalent within the discourse structures of social studies textbooks with the help of Inspiration®, such as the language of describing the process of making laws, comparing and contrasting two branches of the American government, and sequencing of events in making of the American constitution.