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Help! They Don’t Speak English:

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Presentation on theme: "Help! They Don’t Speak English:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Help! They Don’t Speak English:
An overview of information, practices and principles for working with ESL students

2 ESL In Pittsburgh Public Schools
Steady growth in ESL population over the course of the last five years There has been a shift in the “kind” of ESL student that is enrolling in our District ESL Department has grown to include new responsibilities and initiatives U.S. trends are making their way to Pittsburgh

3 Important Terminology
ESL: English as a Second Language (the program) ELL: English language learner (the students) LEP: Limited English Proficient LFS: Limited Formal Schooling Immigrant: A person who comes to the U.S. of own volition Refugee: A person who comes to the U.S. seeking refuge from difficulties in their home country.

4 Considerations when working with ELLs
Cultural Linguistic Instructional Evaluative

5 What is Culture? Culture is the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, customs and behavior patterns of a social group. (Banks, 2006)

6 4 Stages of Acculturation
Euphoria Culture Shock Acceptance Assimilation

7 4 Stages of Acculturation
The process of assimilating into the American culture can take a lifetime Each stage of acculturation has particular aspects that will influence a student’s learning and academic growth Adults will tend to take a longer time to assimilate to the new culture Cultural misunderstandings can be quite common throughout the acculturation process

8 Some Interesting Aspects of Culture…
Proximity Gestures Eye Contact Noise tolerance Working cooperatively vs. independently Time and commitments Parental involvement in education

9 An important point to remember…
A person of any age will move along the continuum of acculturation at an individual pace. While it is desirable that the students in the schools adapt to and adopt the U.S. perspective on education and social interaction, this process may be slower than we would like and requires patience and understanding on our part.

10 What is language? Language may be defined as the way that people communicate with each other. The aspects of language include: Oral communication Reading Writing Contextual understanding

11 Language Aspects The way that a person communicates will have the following aspects: Purpose Fluency Educational background Audience Outcome

12 Language Considerations
Some languages are not written Language rules can vary widely Some parents will be able to speak their native language, but do not have first language literacy Some languages are written from top to bottom or right to left Tone and emphasis can change meaning

13 Stages of Language Development
There is extensive documentation that although people have innate sense on how to learn a language, it may take from 5-10 years for a person to become academically as fluent as native speakers of a new language. This has a great many implications for educators and schools throughout the country.

14 Language Development The Silent Period
There is extensive documentation and research to support the notion that people go through a “Silent Period” which may last up to a year. During this time, very little in the way of language is produced and students are absorbing the language and deciphering the “code” which is the new language. Often times, students will smile, nod their heads a lot (even if they don’t know what is happening) or respond to a question posed in English by the teacher in their native language.

15 Language Development Early Production
During this period of language development, the student begins to take small chances with a new language. The types of responses may include: “yes” or “no” and other short one or two word answers. This stage may last a while ( six months or so) as the student is beginning to play with words, sounds and tones of the new language. Students will imitate the teacher and other students in the class during this period. The student should be able to follow some basic classroom commands and requests as well as begin to socially interact with other students.

16 Instructional Implications
Considering the previously discussed Stages of Acculturation and Language Acquisition, the greatest gifts that you can give your English language learners are: Time Patience

17 Instructional Strategies
Extensive building of background knowledge Lots of real-life objects and situations while realizing that some of the English language learners may have had few, if any, of the experiences with which you believe that they should be familiar Peers as teachers

18 Instructional Strategies
English language learners location in the classroom Repeating directions and instructions Learning words in the student’s language and studying the aspects of the student’s native language Consider progress and not just the benchmarks

19 Evaluating English language learners
A student’s experiences prior to coming to the classroom must be taken into consideration during any type of evaluation Under certain conditions, a student should be evaluated using the child’s first language

20 Evaluating English language learners
Referrals to Early Intervention should be made with the greatest of care and consideration The cultural understanding of “Special Education” should be examined Translators should be secured when gathering information about a student Concerns about language development should align with the Stages of Language Acquisition Time and Patience are essential

21 Finally… All of the work that you do with all children everyday is vitally important. Remember that even when you don’t think that your ESL child is understanding what is happening, they more than likely do understand more than you can imagine!

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