Help! Some of these students do not speak English! An Orientation to the Content Needs of English Learners - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Help! Some of these students do not speak English! An Orientation to the Content Needs of English Learners


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Title: Help! Some of these students do not speak English! An Orientation to the Content Needs of English Learners

Help! Some of these students do not speak
English! An Orientation to the Content Needs of
English Learners
All together now Bhutanese refugee children,
some with disabilities, at a disability support
camp in Nepal. Photo Howard Davies / Exile Images
  • Presenter Skip Cleavinger, M.A.
  • Director of English Learner Programs, WCPS

General layout for our time together
  • Day 1 Important Terms, EL demographics in
    Warren County, Stages of Second Language
    Acquisition, Academic Considerations and Risks,
    WIDA Language Proficiency Standards, Academic
    Language Common Core
  • Day 2 Developing language English Learner
    Programming in WCPS, Developing Language in the
    Content Classroom, Instructional Strategies
    Considerations that Work for ELs, Identify Assets
    and Resources

Setting the Stage
  • Lets identify some commonly held myths that
    undermine quality and robust instruction for ELs.
  • Instruction in English is the responsibility of
    ESL teachers
  • ELs must acquire the language of instruction
    first and only then can they benefit from for
    content instruction
  • Having strong social language in English means
    that a student can understand the instructional
    and content language of the classroom
  • ELs need time to acculturate, become comfortable,
    learn vocabulary for common objects and the
    language for social interaction.

Setting the Stage
  • It is so critically important for us to be aware
    of our own language use otherwise, language is
    invisible to us and we dont realize the
    opportunities we have to make content meaningful.

Setting the Stage
  • Throughout our time together, we will talk about
    the importance of knowing our EL students
    cultural and linguistic background. It is
    important first and foremost to know this all
    of our ELs come to us with rich experiences and
    language assets.
  • Taking stock of these assets and utilizing them
    in instruction and in the community of your
    classrooms is not only good for your EL students
    development- it will enrich the classroom
    experiences for you and all of your students

Important Definitions Background Information
  • Who are English Language Learners (ELs)?
  • ELLs are individuals whose native language is a
    language other than English. ELs are in the
    process of acquiring the English language and
    have not yet reached proficiency. For grades
    K-12, this is based on the results of a formal
    English language proficiency test.
  • In Kentuckys schools, the ACCESS for ELLs is
    the English language proficiency test used to
    determine level of proficiency. It is given
    annually as required by federal law under NCLB.
  • For your purposes, there are many informal ways
    to find out how much English a student knows.

Some Key Vocabulary/Terms
  • Limited English Proficient (LEP)- A lack of
    fluency in speaking, listening, reading, writing
    English. Determined through an evaluation with a
    standardized test of language proficiency. This
    is the term used in federal laws, such as Title
    III, Title VI, and IDEA.
  • English Language Learner (EL)- This term is often
    used in the literature and is synonymous with
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD)- This
    is another term which is very popular in the
    literature at the present time. The term
    acknowledges cultural and linguistic differences,
    but includes the spectrum of language
    proficiency, including full proficiency in
    speaking, listening, reading and writing in

Terms Continued
  • Language Proficiency the level of skill a
    student demonstrates in a language or languages
  • Dominant Language the language in which a
    student is most fluent
  • Language Preference the language that a student
    prefers to speak
  • Note The students preferred language may not
    be the one in which they are most proficient

Terms Continued
  • Simultaneous Language Learner- learning two or
    more language from birth
  • Sequential Language Learner- learning a second
    language after first year- most ELL students are
    sequential language learners
  • Circumstantial Bilingual- the situation in which
    an individual is living, working, learning in a
    setting in which is the dominant language is
    something other than their native language.
    Thus, the individual must learn the new language
    in order to adapt be successful

Terms Continued
  • Immigrant- (A) are aged 3 through 21(B) were not
    born in any State and (C) have not been
    attending one or more schools in any one or more
    States for more than 3 full academic years.
  • Refugee- A refugee is a person who is outside
    their country of origin or habitual residence
    because they have suffered persecution on account
    of race, religion, nationality, political
    opinion, or because they are a member of a
    persecuted 'social group'. Refugees in Bowling
    Green have been resettled here via organizations,
    such as the International Center. Their status
    is recognized by the Department of State

WCPS Stats
  • 1290 students in WCPS are currently classified as
    English Learners
  • This is 9 of our overall student population
  • This classification is based on the students
    performance on a test of English language

WCPS Stats
  • We have 49 languages and dialects represented in
    the district (based on a Spring 2012 survey of
    our ESL teachers)
  • The language (other than English) that is most
    spoken in our district is Spanish
  • When the languages of our Burmese students are
    combined, they are move into the second position
    for most spoken language
  • Other very prevalent languages in our district
    include Bosnian, Arabic, Swahili, Japanese, and

WCPS Stats
  • About 35 countries are represented in our
    district currently
  • The students and their families can be roughly
    classified as either immigrants or refugees
    depending on the circumstances of their arrival
  • We have a refugee resettlement center here in
    Bowling Green, The International Center, and they
    are responsible for all primary refugee
    resettlement in this area

WCPS Stats
  • The classification of refugee is reserved for
    populations targeted for resettlement to the U.S.
    by the Department of States Reception and
    Placement Program and other agencies, such as the
    U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
  • The President of the United States is responsible
    for determining the populations that will be
    targeted for resettlement and the approximate
    numbers who will get to come to the U.S.
  • Burma (Myanmar), Iraq and Burundi are the
    countries from which the majority of our most
    recent refugee families have come

WCPS Stats
  • Newly arrived students begin have often just
    completed a very difficult journey, and they
    begin the journey toward acculturation to our
    community and our schools. They also begin the
    process of becoming bilingual.
  • We must always keep in mind that EL students are
    expected to perform double the work of their
    native English speaking class peers. They are
    expected to learn academic content at the same
    time they are learning the language in which the
    instruction is taking place.

EL Demographics
  • Population of ELLs in the United States is
    growing faster than any other subgroup
  • From 1989-1999, the number of students identified
    as English Language Learners (ELL) increased 104
    in the United States (Rhodes, Ochoa Ortiz, 2005)

EL Demographics
  • Estimated that during the 2003-2004 school year,
    there were 5 million ELL students enrolled in
    public schools-10.3 of total enrollment
    (Lazarus, 2006)
  • By 2015, it is estimated that EL will comprise
    approximately 30 of the overall school
    enrollment in the U.S.
  • Most EL students are born in the U.S.

EL Demographics
  • Over 400 languages are represented across the
    country, with Spanish the most prevalent
  • Significant growth in Kentucky in last decade,
    with urban school districts showing the most
    growth. However, smaller and rural districts are
    also showing increases in numbers of students
    enrolled in schools who are English language
    learners (ELL)

EL Demographics
  • Over 95 languages are represented in Kentucky
  • Just over 17,000 ELs were being served in
    Kentuckys schools during the 2011-2012 academic
  • In Warren County, we gave the ACCESS for ELs
    Language Proficiency Test to 650 students in
    2006-2007. During our 2012 ACCESS testing
    window, we tested 1199 ELs- a 84 increase.

WCPS English Learner Programs
  • International students are enrolled and screened
    at the GEO Center, which is next to Warren
    Central HS.
  • The GEO Center screens English proficiency, and a
    plan is written to specify goals for instruction,
    classroom accommodations and testing
  • In WCPS, we have English as a Second Language
    (ESL) programs in all schools. Generally,
    students who are new to English are given English
    language development instruction

WCPS English Learner Programs
  • EL students are very quickly integrated into
    content classrooms, which is why you may be
    seeing students in your classrooms who are only
    lower intermediate English speakers.
  • Support is given in the context of our EL
    Programs until students reach proficiency on an
    annual test of English.
  • These students are then recertified and
    monitored for a period of 2 years.

WCPS English Learner Programs
  • Members of our department can be seen as sources
    of information regarding a variety of topics.
    Please ask if you have questions.
  • The EL Department also assists with things, such
    as interpretation and translation, facilitating
    parent involvement activities, coordinating
    services with community organizations and
    stakeholders, etc.

Five Very Important Considerations
  • 1. Know your classroom community well. In the
    context of English Learners, we should know
  • Educational history
  • First (and second) language
  • Something of their culture
  • Proficiencies in the heritage language
  • English language proficiency

Considerations Cont.
  • Information about educational, linguistic and
    cultural background is available from enrollment
  • Language proficiency information is available
    form the ESL teacher. You should also have a copy
    of the annual Program Services Plan, which
    describes the goals for instruction and
    accommodations for classroom instruction

Considerations Cont.
  • Seek First to Understand-
  • Youve heard this a lot! Seek out information
    about topics such as second language acquisition,
    effective practices for ELs in the areas of
    instruction and assessment, fostering academic
    conversation in the classroom.
  • District EL Module
  • ESL teacher, GEO Center Staff, etc.

Considerations Cont.
  • These last two considerations are foundational
    beliefs that are so important when we consider
    the instructional needs of EL students in content
  • 3. ELs are often considered difficult to
    teach, liabilities, etc., when in fact they
    bring tremendous linguistic and cultural
    resources and experiences to bear in our

Considerations Cont.
  • 4. The language emphasis of the CCS and the
    (impending) Next Generation Science standards
    necessity our realization that, if we are
    teaching content, we are in fact teaching
    language as well. We are seeking to teach or
    apprentice our students to use the language of
    content as they explore and construct knowledge
    within each discipline. In the end, we want them
    to be able to describe, explain, analyze,
    synthesize, debate in articulate ways.

Considerations Cont.
  • 5. Do not coddle the EL by seeking to water
    down the content and language demands in your
  • Maintain high expectations and provide high
    support .
  • Academic language can only be learned by engaging
    with rich, academic, grade appropriate text (when
    appropriate support is provided by teachers who
    know how to support the language).

Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • Preproduction (Generally first 3 months of second
    language exposure)
  • Early Production (3-6 months of exposure)
  • Speech Emergence (6 months to 2 years)
  • Intermediate Fluency (2-3 years)
  • Advanced Fluency

Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • (Adapted from Hurley, S. R. Tinajero, J.A.
    2001 Lopez Gopaul-McNicol, 1997 Collier, C.,
    2004 Hearn, 2000 Roseberry-McKibbin 2002
    Rhodes, Ochoa, and Ortiz, 2005)
  • 1. Preproduction (First 3 months of L2 Exposure)
  • Characteristics
  • Comprehension stage- student is developing
    skills even though expressive skills are minimal.
    Listening is critical skill at this stage-
    student learns to associate sounds and meaning.
  • Student is able to understand basic directions
    when paired with demonstrations and visual cues
    may understand key words of concepts
  • Very few oral skills are demonstrated at this
    point. The ELL student may respond nonverbally by
    pointing, gesturing, nodding and drawing. A
    silent period in which little or no
    verbalization is observed often occurs during
    this stage. The silent period can last up to
    about 3 months.
  • Suggestions for Teaching Strategies
  • Frequent opportunities for active listening using
    visuals and common objects from home or Classroom)

Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • 2. Early Production (3 6 Months)
  • Characteristics
  • Word usage and comprehension are continuing to
  • Student listens with increased understanding.
  • Student uses one or two word utterances, some
    short phrases/sentences particularly related to
    social/every day events (i.e., BICS).
  • Suggestions for Teaching Strategies
  • Questions to ELLs at this stage should be limited
    to yes/no type questions. It is also
    appropriate to incorporate either/or type
    questions or questions which require a very
    simple, factual response. ELLs should be
    encouraged to imitate correct responses by

Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • 3. Speech Emergence (6 Months to 2 Years)
  • Characteristics
  • Student uses longer and more complex
  • Student is able to generate independent
    sentences and retell a short story in second
  • Student may show problems with grammatical
    errors related to transferring information from
    L1 to L2.
  • Student understands concrete written English
    that is accompanied by concrete contexts, such as
    pictures, objects, actions, and sounds.
  • Student understands ideas that are within
    his/her range of experiences.
  • Suggestions for Teaching Strategies
  • Provide opportunities for student to retell
    stories, using picture and word cues
  • Have student explain actions in a picture or
    picture sequences.

Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • 4. Intermediate Fluency (2-3 Years)
  • Characteristics
  • Student engages in conversations and interacts
    more with others whose primary language is
  • Students expressive language skills are
    significantly improved, fewer expressive errors.
  • Students information processing is slower in
    L2 wont respond as quickly as a native
  • Student is able to express thoughts and
  • Suggestions for Teaching Strategies
  • Provide opportunities for student to create oral
    and written narratives.

Stages of Second Language Acquisition
  • 5. Advanced Fluency
  • Characteristics
  • Student continues to demonstrate more proficient
    receptive and expressive skills in L2, but
    processing information may continue to be at a
    slower rate in the areas of memory, retrieval,
    and encoding. A slower rate of processing can
    persist for several years after learning a second
    language because significant amounts of time and
    practice are needed to decode a new language. For
    example, the student may first need to translate
    information from L1, then back to L2.
  • At this stage, the ELL student generally produces
    grammatical structures and vocabulary comparable
    to native English speakers of the same age.
  • Suggestions for Teaching Strategies
  • Teachers continue ongoing language development
    through integrated language arts and content area
    activities with an emphasis on vocabulary and
    content information.

To sum up the stage discussion
  • The process of second language acquisition
    proceeds in definable, relatively predictable
  • Generally speaking, higher stages are built upon
    reaching proficiency in previous stages

Stage summation continued
  • While the stages proceed in a fairly linear
    fashion, skill development in listening,
    speaking, reading and writing may not. Skill
    development can be evidenced in various areas at
    different points in the process, and progress in
    one area (e.g., reading) can impact progress in
    other areas (e.g., listening and speaking).
  • Finally, the development of proficiency is
    greatly impacted by psychological, personality,
    emotional and social factors. For example,
    determination, motivation and/or a general
    outgoing attitude can speed up the process.
    Shy and reticent children will be hesitant to
    take risks and their second language development
    can take much longer.

Two Types of Language Proficiency
  • Basic Interpersonal Language Skills (BICS)-
    social language
  • Academic Language or Cognitive Academic Language
    Proficiency (CALP)

BICS (Social Language)
  • Develops with even passive exposure to a second
    language within 1-2 years
  • High contextual, concrete
  • May be very misleading in terms of others
    perceptions of a students English Language

  • Social language proficiency
  • This type of language proficiency refers to the
    language used in informal interaction with
    others. The vocabulary used in BICS is often
    very general, and slang and other informal
    conventions are appropriate. Likewise, the
    language structures used are generally very
    direct. Oral language is often accompanied by
    facial expressions and gestures which can convey
    meaning, thus the language used in BICS can often
    be very simple yet still convey complex meaning
    at times. Vocabulary, syntax and semantics dont
    play a critical role in BICS, and this type of
    language proficiency can develop through very
    unstructured exposure to a second language in
    about 1-2 years.

Social language proficiency continued Unspecific
referents are generally fine because people
within the context of the communication have a
common understanding of what the communication is
about what it is for.. Social communication
has an important role in the educational context.
Informal activities, discussion, instructions,
etc. are often expressed in BICS-like language.
Some jargon may be present and there might also
be content-specific and higher level vocabulary
(e.g., power verbs such as identify, specify,
classify, analyze, discern, signify,
etc.) Social/Instructional language
Proficiency is one of the 5 areas measured by our
states English language proficiency test, the
Academic Language
  • Development of academic language must be taught
    through purposeful, meaningful, explicit
  • Requires 5-7 years to develop completely
  • ALP becomes a more critical skill as classrooms
    and instruction become increasingly
  • ALP encompasses the subject-specific vocabulary,
    semantic/syntactic control, and linguistic
    complexity (i.e., the length of oral or written
    response, the amount of detail, the
    cohesiveness of the parts of the communication)

What Is Academic Language?
  • Knowing and being able to use general and
    content- specific vocabulary, specialized or
    complex grammatical features, and multifarious
    language functions and discourse structures- all
    for the purpose of acquiring new knowledge and
    skills, interacting about a topic, or imparting
    information to others (Bailey, 2007).
  • Simply, the language of text (Lesaux, 2009)

Academic Vocabulary
  • It is critical that all of our children be
    explicitly taught the meaning of academic
    vocabulary words. Researchers have determined
    that students must being able to comprehend the
    meaning of 90-95 of the words in a passage in
    order to gain meaning from that passage
    (Calderone, 2007 Klingner, Hoover Baca, 2008
    Lesaux, 2009)

Typical, Developmental Processing errors for
English Language Learners
  • Silent Period
  • Negative Transfer or Interference
  • Code-switching
  • Over-generalization
  • Simplification
  • Language Loss

Language loss
  • Brain processing/learning theory and the
    importance of language as not only a mechanism of
    storage and retrieval, but also a platform onto
    which we can build new language concepts,
    vocabulary and language structures
  • The development of schema and background
    knowledge. We need to access this knowledge to
    build more complex schema
  • We want to really devote ourselves as
    practitioners and consultants to inform parents
    and educators about the importance of
    strengthening L1 while building L2. Losing L1
    (or even an L1 in atrophy) can impede development
    and make our jobs more difficult.

WIDA (World Class Instructional Design and
Assessment) Consortium
  • Consortium of 31 states that share English
    language proficiency standards and the ACCESS for
    ELLs, the test given yearly to assess English
    proficiency in our EL students. Kentucky joined
    the WIDA Consortium in 2006
  • WIDA leaders developed the English language
    proficiency standards in 2004 and developed the
    ACCESS soon after. Last year, the ACCESS was
    given in 27 states to 975,441 students.

WIDA Stages of Language Acquisition
  • Level 1 Entering
  • Level 2 Beginning
  • Level 3 Developing
  • Level 4 Expanding
  • Level 5 Bridging
  • Level 6 Reaching

The WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards
  • 5 Standards Students will acquire...
  • Social Instructional Language
  • Language of Language Arts
  • Language of Math
  • Language of Social Studies
  • Language of Science

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Of every 100 White Kindergartners....
  • 88 graduate from high school
  • 58 complete some college
  • 26 obtain at least a bachelors degree

Of every 100 African American kindergartners.....
  • 82 graduate from high school
  • 35 complete some college
  • 11 obtain at least a bachelors degree

Of every 100 Latino Kindergartners....
  • 63 graduate from high school
  • 35 complete some college
  • 8 obtain at least a bachelors degree

Of every 100 Native American kindergartners...
  • 58 graduate from high school
  • 7 obtain at least a bachelors degree

So, why is this such a challenge??
  • The process of second language acquisition can be
    lengthy and difficult
  • The process of adapting to the school culture is
    also very difficult for some (Generally, this is
    a function of how different their native culture
    is to the culture of the community and school in
    the U.S.)
  • They enter school very far behind in terms of
    exposure to English
  • They must learn English AND build academic
    skills. They are constantly in a race to catch

Complicating the Challenge ELs are often a
complex mix
  • Nationally, the EL population is very
    heterogeneous in Kentucky, we tend to have a mix
    of different refugee and immigrant groups, but
    this can vary from county to county
  • The children vary widely in the quality and
    quantity of L1 they are exposed to at home
  • Some have no exposure to L1 print at home
  • The reasons for immigrating or seeking refuge
    vary greatly at times
  • Factors relating to SES and amount of family
    education vary
  • Family stressors vary

More Complex Issues Refugees
  • By virtue of their status as refugees, these
    individuals are fleeing their home due to war,
    fear of persecution, natural disaster, etc.
  • Many refugees have experienced traumatic
    circumstances which will impact their emotional
    status significantly
  • Refugees do undergo some training to prepare for
    their journey to the U.S., but it is generally a
    very short class. They do not have a choice as
    to the state or city in which they will live

Language exposure statistics(Ortiz, S. (2004).
Powerpoint Presentation. National Association of
School Psychologists Multicultural Resources
  • By the time they begin Kindergarten, native
    English speakers have approximately 21,900 hours
    of both active and passive (e.g., TV) exposure to
    the English language
  • Given the same circumstances, Limited English
    speakers have on the average 3,650 hours of
    exposure to English when they enter Kindergarten
  • Non-English speakers will enter Kindergarten with
    little or no prior exposure to English (as
    compared to 21,900 hours for the native speakers)

  • The 30 Million Word Gap
  • According to research by Betty Hart and Todd
    Risley (2003),children from privileged (high SES)
    families have heard 30 million more words than
    children from underprivileged (low SES) families
    by the age of 3. In addition, follow-up data
    indicated that the 3-year old measures of
    accomplishment predicted third grade school

The Origin Foundations of EL Programming in the
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which
    stated that no person shall be subjected to
    discrimination on the basis of race, color, or
    national origin under any program or activity
    receiving federal financial assistance.
  • The Department of Health, Education and Welfare
    issued a memorandum on May 25, 1970 which
    clarified the application of Title VI to language
    minority students and directed the Office of
    Civil Rights (OCR) to implement, review, and
    enforce compliance procedures. The 1970
    memorandum directed that school districts must
    take clear steps to teach English to language
    minority students in order to open its programs
    to them

The Origin Foundations of EL Programming in the
  • In the U.S. Supreme Courts findings in Lau v.
    Nichols (1974), the Justices ruled that the San
    Francisco Unified School District violated Title
    VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by not
    providing English instruction to Chinese-speaking
    students. In the Lau Remedies, the Supreme
    Court affirmed the authority of the Department of
    Health, Education and Welfare to ensure that
    districts provide bilingual, multilingual, or
    transitional bilingual services to ELL students.

The Origin Foundations of EL Programming in the
  • Basic English skills are at the very core of
    what the public schools teach. Imposition of a
    requirement that, before a child can effectively
    participate in the educational program, he must
    have already acquired those basic skills is to
    make a mockery of public education. We know that
    those who do not understand English are certain
    to find their classroom experience
    incomprehensible and in no way meaningful.
    Justice Douglas

Important Definitions Background Information
  • What are the stages of second language
    acquisition and how is it the same or different
    from development of ones first language
  • Second language development is similar to first
    language development in that it proceeds in
    stages and, generally speaking, receptive
    language develops before expressive language.
  • One of the primary (and most useful) differences
    is that a first language is in place to some
    degree. Thus, concepts have been stored in
    memory and can be accessed to teach vocabulary
    and concepts in the second language. All major
    research findings conclude that success in
    learning academic English is much more likely if
    the first language is highly developed.

Strategies to Address the Linguistic and Academic
Needs of Your EL Students
Native Language Features
  • Orthographical features The writing system of
    any particular language can take many forms, and
    the degree to which the system differs from the
    Roman alphabetic system we use in English will
    impact the language acquisition process. Spanish,
    the most commonly spoken native language among
    ELs in the U.S., also uses the Roman alphabet,
    thus Spanish speaking students will have some
    familiarity with the letters.
  • Phonemic/Phonological features Some sounds and
    grapheme/phoneme correspondences are particular
    to English and are not found in many other
    language. For example, Spanish has only 5 vowel
    sounds and they do not vary. English, on the
    other hand, can have 11 sounds. The short /i/
    and /e/ sounds do not occur in Spanish, and a
    sound very similar to short /o/ is associated
    with the letter /a/ in Spanish.

Native Language Features
  • Phonemic/Phonological features cont Likewise,
    some consonant blends in English are not used in
    Spanish. There are many examples of
    phonemic/phonological differences between English
    and other major languages.
  • Syntactic features The syntax of many languages
    can differ dramatically from English, and this
    will obviously impact the second language
    acquisition process. For example, in Spanish,
    noun modifiers come after the noun, rather than
    before. (e.g., pelota de tenis for tennis
  • Grammatical features Again, we can equip
    ourselves with some knowledge of the grammar of a
    particular language. In Spanish, one says,
    tengo frio to indicate that he or she is cold.
    This is literally translated as I have cold.

Cultural Considerations
  • We should seek information about the students
    dominant culture which pertain to social
    interaction, education, family member
    responsibilities, gender roles and
    responsibilities, education, literacy, etc.
  • As with Linguistic Proximity, we want to know
    more about the cultural characteristics present
    in our classrooms. How divergent from the
    culture of our community is the culture of the
    student and their family (i.e., Cultural
  • Also, what is the degree to which the student has
    adopted or acculturated to the culture of our

  • A combination of feelings, thoughts, beliefs,
    values, and behavioral patterns which are shared
    by racial, ethnic, religious, or other social
  • It is impossible to define any person by a single
    cultural label, as the many facets of all our
    lives intertwine cultures
  • Culture is constantly changing

  • This describes the process, a relatively natural
    process, that occurs as an individual moves to an
    area with a dominant culture that he or she may
    not share.
  • Acculturation takes place in very surface ways
    (e.g., adopting clothing styles, casual
    greetings, mannerisms of the dominant culture) to
    very deep features (full proficiency in the
    language of the dominant culture)
  • Generational studies have mapped the acquisition
    of English proficiency in immigrant families

  • The concept of ethnicity is complex in that
    many countries and regions of the world define an
    ethnic group differently. It could be based on
    religion, language, ancestry, or tribal group.
  • Ethnicity is defined by NCCRESt as a strong
    sense of belonging, thus that sense of
    identification and belonging must come from
    within the individual and cannot be assigned by
    someone else.

  • Race is a concept and distinction developed to
    separate and describe individuals according to
    their physical traits and characteristics.
  • Race as a political and social construct has led
    to enslavement, marginalization, and even
    attempted annihilation.

Explicitly Teach Vocabulary
  • ELs, as we have discussed have a lot of catching
    up to do in terms of vocabulary. Seek authentic
    ways to introduce, teach and provide multiple
    encounters with rich vocabulary.
  • The types of vocabulary have been classified by
    several folks, most notably Beck and McKeown.
    Our young students need the most basic vocabulary
    relating to themselves and their environment, and
    they also need highly functional academic
    vocabulary and linguistic features, such as
    but,or, if ___, then____, etc.

Academic Vocabulary
  • Type I Vocabulary (Basic)
  • Type II Vocabulary (Cross discipline, high
  • Type III Vocabulary (Discipline specific)
  • Beck, McKeown, Kucan (2002) Bringing Words to

Seek to Strengthen the Native Language or L1of
your EL students
  • Encourage parents to read to their children in
    the native language
  • Encourage parents to use rich, robust native
  • Use native language support in your room whenever
    possible (e.g., post labels, use native language
    books videos if appropriate, make use of
    bilingual individuals as tutors or assistants in
    the classroom when appropriate.

Frequently Assess the Language Skills of Your EL
  • This should be informal and geared to their
    language proficiency level. All tasks should be
    authentic and based in classroom instruction.
    Tasks may be verbal or nonverbal based on the
    proficiency of the student. If hey are not ready
    to talk yet, let them respond nonverbally by
    gesturing, sorting, nodding their heads, etc.

Focus on Literacy
  • Equip yourself with knowledge about the
    components of literacy that are critical for
    reading development.
  • Use strategies that are known to be effective for
    ELs, such as preview techniques to
    discuss/predict the story based on the pictures,
    pre-teach vocabulary and common phrases,
    highlight particular vocabulary words which are
    pertinent to the story line.

Utilize Heterogeneous Groups of Students for
Structured Academic and Language Tasks
  • Group monolingual English speakers with EL
  • Structure tasks in such a way that ELs have a
    chance to model native speakers in output (i.e.,
    speaking and writing)
  • Always ensure that ELs have opportunities to
    engage in language activities with more
    proficient speakers.

Set High Expectations
  • Dont forget Vygotsky. Development occurs when
    we place a goal just beyond the reach of our
    students and provide supports and scaffolds for
    them to reach up to acquire the goal.
  • With this group of students, it is very easy to
    fall into a trap of setting low expectations,
    watering down content, and essentially loving
    them into a deficit that they may never get out
  • The best way for ELs to learn the language of
    school is to engage in rich, highly structured,
    meaningful, authentic academic events that
    require the use of langauge

Some things to remember if you suspect that ELs
are lagging behind the rest
  • First of all, there probably will be lags. We
    would lag behind our peers, too if we were sent
    by our parents to a school in which English is
    not the language of instruction.
  • The greater the difference between the culture
    and language of the child and our dominant
    culture and English, the more you can expect some
  • Certain linguistic errors are a sign that the
    child is working to make sense of English.
    Likewise, the silent period is normal.

Common manifestations of English Learners (ELs)
during classroom instruction that may mimic
various disorders or cognitive deficits.
Slow to begin tasks ELs may have limited
comprehension of the classroom language so that
they are not always clear on how to properly
begin tasks or what must be done in order to
start them or complete them correctly. Slow to
finish tasks ELs, especially those with very
limited English skills, often need to translate
material from English into their native language
in order to be able to work with it and then must
translate it back to English in order to
demonstrate it. This process extends the time for
completion of time-limited tasks that may be
expected in the classroom. Forgetful ELs cannot
always fully encode information as efficiently
into memory as monolinguals because of their
limited comprehension of the language and will
often appear to be forgetful when in fact the
issue relates more to their lack of proficiency
with English.
Inattentive ELs may not fully understand what is being said to them in the classroom and consequently they dont know when to pay attention or what exactly they should be paying attention to.
Hyperactive ELs may appear to be hyperactive because they are unaware of situation-specific behavioral norms, classroom rules, and other rules of social behavior.
Impulsive ELs may lack the ability to fully comprehend instructions so that they display a tendency to act impulsively in their work rather than following classroom instructions systematically.
Distractible ELs may not fully comprehend the language being being spoken in the classroom and therefore will move their attention to whatever they can comprehend appearing to be distractible in the process.
Disruptive ELs may exhibit disruptive behavior, particularly excessive talkingoften with other ELLS, due to a need to try and figure out what is expected of them or to frustration about not knowing what to do or how to do it.
Disorganized ELs often display strategies and work habits that appear disorganized because they dont comprehend instructions on how to organize or arrange materials and may never have been taught efficient learning and problem solving strategies.
Great resources exist for you to continue your
learning in this area. Some great places to
start looking include
(Understanding Language) cal.o
rg (Center for Applied Linguistics) iris.peabody.v E-mail me skip.cleavinger_at_warren.
  • Artiles, A.J. Ortiz, A. A. (Eds.), (2002).
    English language learners with special education
    needs. Identification, assessment and
    instruction. McHenry, IL. Delta Systems Co, Inc.
  • Fuchs, D., Mock, D., Morgan, P.L. Young, C.L.
    (2003). Responsiveness to intervention
    Definitions, evidence, and implications for the
    learning disabilities construct. Learning
    Disabilities Research Practice, 18 (3), 157-171
  • Gerber, M. (2006). Response-to- Instruction
    Models of Assessment Are they valid for English
    language learners? Denver NCCREST.
  • Hamayan, E., Marler, B., Sanchez-Lopez, C.
    Distinguishing learning disabilities from second
    language difficulties. (2006). Des Plaines
    Illinois Resource Center
  • Harry, B. Klingner, J. (2006). Why are so many
    minority students in special education? . New
    York NY Teachers College Press
  • Klingner, J., Artiles, A. Barletta, L (2005).
    English language learners and learning
    disabilities a critical review of the
    literature. Denver NCCREST.
  • Rhodes, R, Ochoa, S. H., Ortiz, S.0. (2005).
    Assessing culturally and linguistically diverse
    students. New York Guilford Press
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