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English as a Second Language A Challenge for 21st Century Educators

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1 English as a Second Language A Challenge for 21st Century Educators
By Marty Seither

2 English as a Second Language
This presentation will hopefully provide some insight into one of the great challenges facing educators in the 21st Century – how to educate immigrants to the US that speak another language. This presentation will serve as an introduction to the demographics, the education in other countries, teaching strategies and standards, assessment, technology, and basic language learning issues. Let’s start with an overview of some of the acronyms used in this field.

3 What do the acronyms mean?
ESL – English as a Second Language – when someone is learning English after having learned another language first. ELL – English Language Learner – someone who is learning English LEP – Limited English Proficient – a student whose skills in English are not at the grade level CLD – Culturally and Linguistically Diverse – a modern term to describe students whose culture or language differs from the dominant group

4 What do the acronyms mean?
ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages – instruction that focuses on vocabulary and grammar to learn English L1 – the first or native language acquired by an individual L2 – the second language acquired by an individual BICS – Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills – social language skills CALP – Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency – academic language skills

5 Who are ELL’s? ELL’s are the fastest growing group in public schools today. One in five children under eight years old is an immigrant. Between 1995 and 2005, CLD student enrollment increases by 57%. Overall student population only increased 3.7%. Kentucky, like many southern states, has seen an increase of over 200% in the last 10 years. By 2030, ELL’s will make up 40% of the K-12 population!

Who are ELL’s? Between 2000 and 2050, the Hispanic population is set to increase over 273% in the US. By 2050, the United States will be home to the largest population of Spanish speakers in the world! BUT – It should be noted: THERE IS NO “TYPICAL” ELL!!

7 Who are ELL’s 55% are native born 45% are foreign born
Spanish is the overwhelming majority first language (79%), but it is NOT the only one! Students move into our schools from many lands and bring their languages, such as Vietnamese, Hmong, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, French, German – ALL languages are represented in this mix!! ELL’s share only a need to learn English. How do they differ otherwise?

8 Who are ELL’s? ELL’s are different from each other in:
Country of origin/language/cultural backgrounds Socioeconomic status Family histories Length of time in the US Mobility Level of education prior to arrival in the US Educational goals Even Hispanic students differ according to the country from which they came! So don’t make assumptions!

9 Who are ELL’s? The top ten countries with immigrants to the US in 2010 were: Mexico China Philippines India Vietnam Cuba El Salvador Dominican Republic Canada Korea

10 Why do they come? There is no single reason why immigrants come to the US. However, educational opportunity is certainly one reason. The next slides will discuss the educational situation in Honduras, to provide an example of the lack of educational opportunity in Latin America.

11 Honduras The constitution in Honduras states that a free primary education is given to every child between the ages of seven and fourteen. However, this does not reflect reality at all. Few Hondurans actually receive any real education due to a lack of schools, lack of teacher training, lack of funding, and general lack of urgency within the government and the population to do more about it.

12 Honduras The statistics are grim indeed:
Only 43% of students complete the primary level. Only 30% of all students that enter first grade go on to secondary school. The average Honduran only has 6.5 years of formal schooling. The illiteracy rate is over 40% of the total population and over 80% in rural areas.

13 Honduras Teacher training and attitude are also huge issues. There seems to be no real standards for teacher training, and certainly no accountability for their competency. Often the schools are run by friends of a local politician, who hires teachers that support the politician. However, this does not seem to instill great loyalty. Teachers routinely go on strike in Honduras demanding better pay and resources. This affects the time that students actually spend in school. Primary school is already very short – usually only from 8am until noon. But then take out the days that the teachers are on strike, the multitudes of holidays enjoyed by the Latin culture, teacher training days, and days when a teacher is ill, and the students are suffering from a lack of instructional time.

14 Honduras The schools in Honduras also face enormous challenges with the social problems inherent with such a poor country. There are issues with drug trafficking, prostitution, and gang violence in the schools. The schools struggle with basic health issues such as providing clean drinking water, food, and dealing with epidemics. The schools themselves are often in such poor conditions that merely attending class can provide a threat to the safety of the students.

15 Why do they come? The previous slides provided some insight as to the reasons many students find themselves in the US. Of course, economic opportunity is the primary reason that immigrants come to the US. Political strife and violence are other reasons. But the benefits of a better education cannot be overlooked. The conditions of the schools in Honduras are emblematic of schools throughout Latin America. So, the students come here with their parents. We are responsible for teaching them. How do we do this?

16 How do we teach ELL’s? Time Magazine called teaching ELL’s the “Education Crisis Everyone is Ignoring”. Most schools are unprepared and lack teacher training and skills. It is NOT the responsibility of the ESL teacher to teach them alone. ELL’s are responsible for learning core content and teachers are held accountable for their learning. Core content teachers need to develop the skills to teach ELL’s.

17 How do we teach ELL’s? Teachers should be aware of the stages of acculturation to understand the emotional issues of ELL’s. Teachers should support the student’s use of their primary language and support their ethnic identity. Teachers should also learn about the country from which the student came and give affirmation to the student’s home culture. Teachers should acknowledge and appreciate diversity, it is here and it’s not going anywhere.

18 ACCESS and W-APT If a student hasn't been tested before or if she/he comes from a country other than an English speaking country, he/she has to take the Placement test (W-APT) to evaluate his/her English level. Depending of the results, the student will be considered ELL or not. Access scores are then given in February. On the W-APT and the ACCESS test, if a student scores a 5, they no longer need ESL services. Anything less than a “5” will get the student entered into ESL and have a PSP written and be given appropriate accommodations and teaching strategies and modifications.

19 WIDA and TESOL Standards
Teachers have a responsibility to understand the WIDA and TESOL standards and use them to guide the teaching and assessment of their English Language Learners. By utilizing the WIDA and TESOL standards, a teacher can understand where their students are with their language capabilities. In particular, using the standards will allow a teacher to incorporate appropriate language goals and objectives into their content lessons, and to utilize this information further to do appropriate assessment at a level a student can understand and master. Using the WIDA and TESOL as a guideline to provide appropriate and challenging instruction to ELL’s is a great responsibility of all teachers that are involved in the education of an ESL student.

20 WIDA WIDA is an acronym for World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment. It was developed by a consortium of 23 states that includes Kentucky. The consortium studied the research into best practices of ESL and created the WIDA ELP standards that address what a student can do at various levels in their language development until they are proficient. WIDA also developed the ACCESS test which is used to assess the current level of each student’s progress in learning English.

21 WIDA The WIDA standards are broken down into 5 social and academic standards across multiple grades. These standards are: social and instructional language, the language of language arts, the language of mathematics, the language of science, and the language of social studies (WIDA, RG-10). These 5 standards are then divided by the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing (WIDA, RG-11). By utilizing the standards, teachers can gain an understanding of where their students are in their academic (CALP) language skills, and then create lesson plans that are at an appropriate level to not overwhelm them, yet challenge them to move to the next level. There are 6 total levels, representing the continuum of language acquisition from entering through reaching. Teachers are responsible for knowing where their students lie on the standards for their subject, and using the guides within the standards to make formative and summative plans at the levels of their student.

22 TESOL TESOL is Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. They created a set of standards to augment the WIDA standards and focused them specifically for academic content (TESOL, 3). Together, the WIDA and TESOL standards are made to be used with regular classroom content standards. These standards describe the language skills that are needed for both social and academic purposes, and detail the language skills that ELL’s (English Language Learners) need in order to be proficient in English, as well as achieve the content standards.

23 TESOL The TESOL standards address three goals. These goals are: using English to communicate in social settings, using English to achieve academically in the content areas, and using English in socially and culturally appropriate ways. Each standard also includes behavioral descriptors, progress indicators, and vignettes. The behavioral descriptors are simply the behavior a student will demonstrate if they meet a standard. Progress indicators are observable activities that allow a student to show they are meeting a standard. The vignettes are real-life examples that demonstrate the standard being applied in action, so a teacher can understand what is taking place in their own classroom.

24 Effective Strategies in the Classroom
Speak Slowly Used Closed Captioning Emphasize Visual Literacy Use maps, graphs, charts Graphic Organizers Group Projects – Think/Pair/Share Partner English Learners with Strong Speakers Relate to prior knowledge Consistent routines

25 Effective Strategies in the Classroom
Hands-on activities Modeling Wait time Connect to prior learning Cognates Word wall Picture glossary Clear steps and instructions There are many more, but one thing is certain – these are “best practices” for ALL students, not only ELL’s!

26 Assessment So you have utilized WIDA and TESOL standards and have followed all the best practices in instruction. Now you need to assess learning. Here are some important pointers for assessing ELL’s: Use authentic assessments that draw on real life experiences Use multiple assessment strategies Establish scoring criteria that is fair to ELL’s If assessments are translated, ensure they are the same as the English version

27 Assessment Choose content that is appropriate for diverse populations
Avoid cultural bias Make sure ELL’s had the opportunity to learn the material Make sure the students understand the performance criteria and how it will be scored Use alternative means to display understanding if language is not being assessed Make sure the vocabulary is appropriate

28 Again, these are best practices for ALL students!!
Assessment Ensure ELL’s have sufficient time to complete the assessment Make sure proper accommodations are being used The assessment must be connected to the learning and performance expectations Provide appropriate feedback to the student for learning and improvement Again, these are best practices for ALL students!!

29 Technology There are many supporting technologies available to aid in the teaching of ELLs. WIDA highly encourages using supports to assist students. Supports are any instructional strategy or tool that assists students in getting the content and improving classroom communication. A tool could very well be the use of instruction technology. As WIDA explains, “support is important for all learners to gain access to meaning through multiple modalities, but it is absolutely essential for ELL’s”. Therefore, there can be no doubt that the utilization of technology can be used in relation with the WIDA standards in order to provide the most effective way to teach ELL’s core content. Using various technologies which aid learning through using sensory, graphics, or interaction will only benefit the student, and help eliminate some of the barriers the student is facing based on language.

30 Technology Combining the WIDA standards with effective teaching technology would represent the “ideal” way to teach core content to ELL’s. The standards, model performance indicators, and can-do descriptors for each language and grade level within WIDA will get any teacher to a point of teaching any ELL core content. However, by combining WIDA with technology, a teacher will be combining the best of all resources and will create the most effect environment for teaching core content to ELL’s.

31 CALP and BICS A quick point about CALP and BICS-
As stated in the beginning, CALP is academic language. This is challenging language and can take seven or more years to develop. BICS is social language. It develops quickly. A child can quickly learn “playground language” to interact with peers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a student “knows English” based on their ability to speak to their peers and interact with you!!

32 Conclusion All teachers are now involved with teaching ELL’s
The numbers of ELL’s are growing and will continue to grow, the demographic changes are undeniable. If we, as a country, are to continue to grow and prosper, we must educate all our citizens – including those whose L1 is not English. Diversity is an asset and we should utilize it in our classes. Don’t make assumptions about your students, get to know them and their families.

33 Conclusion The primary challenge for education in the United States in the 21st Century is teaching ELL’s. But, teachers already have the skills they need, for the most part, because: BEST PRACTICES FOR TEACHING ELL’s ARE BEST PRACTICES FOR ALL STUDENTS!!

34 Sources Book Sources: Herrera, Socorro G. & Murry, Kevin G. (2011). Mastering ESL and Bilingual Methods: Differentiated Instruction for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Students. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Lachat, Mary Ann (2004). Standards-Based Instruction and Assessment for English Language Learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (2006). PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards. Matton, Illinois: United Graphics Incorporated. World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA). (2007). English Language Proficiency Standards and Resource Guide. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Internet Sources:

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