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E NGLISH L ANGUAGE L EARNERS Diverse Learners Spotlight Presentation University of New England By: Erin Dilla.

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Presentation on theme: "E NGLISH L ANGUAGE L EARNERS Diverse Learners Spotlight Presentation University of New England By: Erin Dilla."— Presentation transcript:

1 E NGLISH L ANGUAGE L EARNERS Diverse Learners Spotlight Presentation University of New England By: Erin Dilla

2 C HALLENGES FOR E NGLISH L ANGUAGE L EARNERS Why Should Teachers Be Concerned about English Language Learners English Language Learners (ELLs) are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States today. In 2008, English Language Learners made up about 10% of the enrolled K-12 students of our nation (Calderon et. al, 2011). ELLs face many challenges academically, especially in reading. Academic achievement and graduation rates are lower for English Language Learners than that of native English-speaking students (Calderon et. al, 2011). My Personal Experience I have taught at Hope Rural School for about 20 years and have worked with 5 different grade levels, from Pre-K4- 4 th grade. Our school population is about 95% ELLs, who receive free lunch. I have seen our students struggle academically, especially in reading and language arts. Our school was founded to serve the needs of the children of migrant and immigrant workers 34 years ago. At that time, a group of concerned parishioners recognized that the local public school was not addressing the population of Guatemalan and Mexican students, who had moved to the small, farming community of Indiantown, FL.

3 S UMMARY OF ELL A RTICLES Vocabulary knowledge is vital to reading success, and ELLs often have a disadvantage in this area. Direct instruction of vocabulary is limited in schools at all levels. Academic vocabulary is more difficult for students than conversational vocabulary. Effective strategies include teaching synonyms, activities that offer repetition, keeping a vocabulary log, and using illustrations. (Sibold, 2011) Academic English that is used in school is often more difficult than conversational English. Comparing, classifying, and problem solving require higher level language skills. Teachers can create a classroom climate that encourages instructional conversation. Classroom climate is important to support language development for ELLs. (Williams, 2001) Oral reading fluency is frequently used as an indicator of reading proficiency. Researchers evaluated 171 ELLs using 4 different assessment tools, measuring fluency and comprehension. Word callers, who call out words when reading, struggle with comprehension. Of the students evaluated, 15.8% were identified as word callers, which was a higher than expected number. This study found a gap between oral reading fluency and comprehension with the ELLs evaluated. (Quirk and Beem, 2012) ELLs is one of the fastest growing student populations in our country. There has been disagreement of best practices between theories of English- only instruction and bilingual education. Success for All (SFA) has been shown to be an effective school reform approach for ELLs. Cooperative learning and interventions for students, professional development for teachers, and family support are keys to success. (Calderon, Slavin, and Sanchez, 2011)

4 S YNTHESIS English Language Learners face many challenges in the classroom. Vocabulary instruction is a key component of reading, and this is an identified area of weakness for English Language Learners. If conversational language is easier to acquire, teachers may not realize that English Language Learners may be struggling more with challenging academic vocabulary. Also, research has shown that effective vocabulary instruction is an area that receives inadequate attention in both elementary and high schools (Sibold, 2011). If this is true, ineffective or limited vocabulary instruction could have a greater impact on reading achievement for English Language Learners. Teachers need training and support to best serve ELLs. To promote student literacy, teachers also need to respect students’ backgrounds and culture (Calderon et. al, 2011). Vocabulary Instruction Academic Vocabulary Technical, content- related, abstract More difficult to master than conversational vocabulary Effective Strategies Repetitive, engaging activities, in context

5 C RITICAL A NALYSIS Reading achievement is critical to school success, but for English Language Learners, reading is often difficult. For years, educators have used oral reading fluency as a measure of reading achievement. Quirk and Beem (2012) found that this indicator may not be as strongly connected and accurate for ELLs. If this is the primary measure of achievement, ELLs, who may be good “word callers” with little comprehension skills, may be overlooked in identification of reading problems (Quirk and Beem, 2012). Schools must provide support for our ELLs. Calderon et. al (2011) tell us that significant gaps in achievement exist between English Learners and English proficient students, and that many teachers are not prepared to help ELLs succeed. Professional development for teachers is needed to ensure best practices are used to support every student. Also, teachers need to have an understanding of language development, from basic communicative language to academic language (Williams, 2001). Research has shown that effective vocabulary instruction is a key component for student success. Effective strategies for vocabulary instruction include using real objects, pictures, repetition, anchor words and cooperative groups (Sibold, 2011). A positive classroom climate and teachers using community building language help to foster academic progress for ELLs (Williams, 2001).

6 C ONCLUSION Language Learners face many challenges in the classroom, especially in reading. ELLs have lower academic achievement and graduation rates than native English speakers (Williams, 2001). Family support is especially important to the success of ELLs, and schools should work to foster good relationships (Calderon et. al, 2011). As one of the largest growing groups in our schools, every teacher should be concerned about and trained in best practices for English Language Learners. Effective vocabulary instruction is a key component to helping ELLs succeed. “Schools that serve English learners, especially in regions where most families are struggling economically, provide children their best and perhaps only chance to achieve economic security (Calderon et. al, 2011).”

7 D ISCUSSION In what ways does the reading instruction at your school foster vocabulary development, especially in learning academic language, for English Language Learners? References Calderon, M., Slavin, R., & Sanchez, M. (2011). Effective Instruction for English Learners. Future of Children, 21(1), 103- 127. Quirk, M., & Beem, S. (2012). Examining the Relations between Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension for English Language Learners. Psychology In The Schools, 49(6), 539-553. Sibold, C. (2011). Building English Language Learners' Academic Vocabulary: Strategies and Tips. Multicultural Education, 18(2), 24-28. Williams, J. A. (2001). Classroom Conversations: Opportunities To Learn for ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms. Reading Teacher, 54(8), 750-57.

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