Where students struggle with academic foundation level English, they would find some of the Year7-Unit historical skills difficult to acquire. For instance, in the unit for Year 7, the chronology of terms and concepts of different historical periods and developments are to be learned. A student with just BICS level of English proficiency will obviously find this task difficult as they have to not only understand the terms as set in the context of history, but also have to understand the cultural connotations of those words, their origin etc, in order to use them skilfully. For a person to be considered as literate in the current century, it is necessary for the person to be flexible in practices of learning. They must be able to attain a repertoire of practices of learning through the different modes available through them and in addition must be able use their learning deftly in social situations. Now to assess the current unit based on how it prepares history learners deftly, it is the common challenges that history learner’s face and why scaffolding would be required
Some key challenges that were observed when students with less English language learners in the case of history lessons are as follows. Firstly, the student would have limited understanding of Australian history, and hence, such a student would have to be introduced to the history session by breaking up the unit into chunks (Alber, 2011). In the case of the Year 7 Unit, the study subject is Chinese History. Not all students would be proficient about the Chinese dynasties and more, so they need to be brought up to date on some basics.
A higher-level thinking is needed to process what is taught in the history class. Thus, a basic set up of terms and more must be introduced in advance for the students to become comfortable. Students will not be familiar with all the processes and vocabulary that goes into teaching the subject (Haynes, 2009). History text would contain complex sentences and the use of passive voice which must be interpreted correctly. In such cases, some form of scaffolding to bring the student up to mark in their understanding of active and passive voices and even pronouns (extensively used in historic texts) is a basic scaffolding requirement.
Social studies and history classes grade literacy based on the amount of opinion that the student would share. However, student from different cultures would not be used to sharing their viewpoints strongly. In such cases, scaffolding would help them speak up more confidently. Some concepts exist in only a certain culture and some beliefs have to be shared with student when preparing them for the subject. Furthermore, the timeline teaching approach used in history classes, more often clashes with teaching by dynasty or period. Students must be taught the difference in approaching learning as a dynasty where events and themes are considered as a cluster, as opposed to learning specific events in specific timelines.