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Working with English Learners

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Title: Working with English Learners


1
Working with English Learners
2
Things to know...
3
Various English language proficiency levels
  • English learners are assessed in 4 domains
    listening, speaking, reading and writing (for
    further information see http//www.cde.ca.gov/ta/t
    g/el/ ). Once the assessment is done, they are
    categorized as
  • Beginning
  • Early Intermediate
  • Intermediate
  • Early Advanced
  • Advanced
  • (See for detail information http//www.fuhsd.org/
    CELDT/CELDTEnglish.pdf
  • http//www.sandi.net/depts/literacy/eldpi.pdf
    )
  • Keep in mind that the overall proficiency level
    is the composite of the levels from the 4 domains
    listed above so an Intermediate English learner
    may be at the early advanced level in listening
    and speaking but at the early intermediate or
    even beginning level in reading and writing.

4
Variety of cultural backgrounds
  • Since .
  • English learners are from one or more cultures
    and backgrounds.
  • Many English learners were born in the US yet
    they are living with parents who are first or
    second generation immigrants.
  • Therefore
  • Many activities, objects, animals that are
    common to mainstream culture may very well be
    unfamiliar to English learners.

5
Different levels of knowledge in both English
and primary language
  • Language transfers so does knowledge.
  • English learners who are literate in their
    primary language usually do better when learning
    a new language or concept.
  • Similarly, English learners who have been in
    school often perform better in acquiring
    knowledge.
  • Example concepts like table or photosynthesis
    does not need to be relearned.

6
Things to do...
7
Explain what is said
  • Content specific vocabularies condensation,
    sublimation
  • Academic vocabularies collect, hypothesize,
    evaluate
  • Idiomatic expressions back to square one, days
    are numbered, behind the time
  • Colloquial I got an earful from my mother last
    night.
  • Make sure she does not cross you.

8
Provide visual presentation, models, examples
  • Use realia, pictures, charts, graphs, graphic
    organizers, videos clips ... to provide concrete
    understanding.
  • Models, examples are very helpful.

9
Use analogies
  • Providing analogies bridges the concepts being
    learned to students prior knowledge, experience
    or things that they are familiar with.
  • Example use peanut butter sandwich or jaw
    breaker candy to explain the different layers of
    the earth
  • (for more examples of science analogies, go to
    http//www.scienceanalogies.info/webanalogylinks
    .html )

10
Role-play, act-out, pantomime
  • These provide visual representation and attach
    meaning to
  • abstract concepts or ideas.
  • Example role-play the suns, plants, and cows
    function in a simple food chain act out the
    relationship of bonds between molecules in stages
    of matter (molecule dance from Dr. Art)

11
Provide abstract/summary
  • Providing abstract or summary helps students see
    the big pictures, the overview, or the main
    ideas/concepts of what they are about to
    explore/learn.
  • Like professional papers that you have read.
  • See abstract

12
Highlight/underline key concepts, main ideas
  • When reading texts, highlighting/underlining
    enables English learners to identify key concepts
    or main ideas. This is also a study skill that
    not all students acquired.

13
Paraphrase
  • Paraphrase presents the same information in a
    simpler way without the complexity of grammar
    structures and mechanics and academic or content
    specific vocabularies.
  • Remember to use already learned content or
    academic language when paraphrasing.

14
Provide processing time
  • Everyone including English learners need time to
    process the information as it is how human brain
    function.
  • For English learners, since English is not their
    first language, they need time to translate
    what they hear or receive into their own
    language, structure a reply or answer if required
    then translate it back to English to say it out
    loud. The whole process takes time.
  • Usually, strategies like 10/2 would work well.
    Teacher instructs for 10 minutes (more or less
    depending on grade levels), then provide 2
    minutes for students to process the information
    by sketching or jotting down what they just
    heard, share with a partner.

15
Cooperative learning structures/activities
  • Cooperative group structures and activities
    provide students the opportunities to process and
    discuss information in a low effective filter.
  • Examples pair share, group project, numbered
    heads together,
  • Websites for cooperative learning
    structures/activities
  • http//edtech.kennesaw.edu/intech/cooperativelear
    ning.htm http//www.jalt.org/pansig/PGL2/HTML/Naka
    gawa.htm http//www.utexas.edu/academic/diia/resea
    rch/projects/hewlett/cooperative.php

16
Keep expectations consistent with students
proficiency levels
  • Tasks assigned, expectations, assessment need to
    be appropriate to students proficiency levels.
  • Example
  • Beginning students should be asked to label,
    match, draw pictures or single word answers
  • Intermediate students can perform all of the
    above with the expectation that their answer be
    in simple sentences or even short paragraph.
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