A language-based curriculum provides well-planned content information that is strategically presented to facilitate learning and enrich the language experiences of the students across all subject areas. Beyond language arts classes, language learning is embedded in all content classes, the arts, and physical education. Content and language come together as teachers carefully consider curricula requirements as well as the language demands of lessons. Teachers not only analyze the content material and reading resources to be used but also identify the important speaking, listening, reading comprehension, and writing skills demanded by each lesson. Classroom teachers then incorporate the techniques to facilitate content and language learning by students. Recess and playground activities are also viewed as important contexts for language learning and practice.
Through staff development, Windward teachers learn how to extend language instruction through all classroom lessons. Teachers learn how to use and modify ‘teacher language’ in ways that encourage students to participate in class discussions, attend to and remember important information and follow instructions. Windward teachers attend language development workshops and learn strategies that can be used to help students improve sentence and text comprehension, learn vocabulary, practice inferential and critical thinking, and become more adept with social uses of language.
A direct instruction teaching model is used throughout the School to deliver the curriculum. Teachers follow this direct instruction model—a structured, systematic, and effective research-based methodology—in order to maximize students’ academic growth. The direct instruction model is an explicit approach to teaching that includes both a specific instructional design and delivery procedures. Students are provided with a purpose and rationale for learning a new strategy or skill, clear explanations, demonstrations, and time to practice with teacher feedback until mastery is achieved.