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English Language Learners in the Public School Classroom. CIED 5052: Multicultural Issues Dr. Bowles. Who are they? What Language do they speak?. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0053.pdf Ogbu (1991) classified minority students as IMMIGRANT and INVOLUNTARY.

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english language learners in the public school classroom

English Language Learners in the Public School Classroom

CIED 5052: Multicultural Issues

Dr. Bowles

who are they what language do they speak
Who are they? What Language do they speak?


Ogbu (1991) classified minority students as IMMIGRANT and INVOLUNTARY.

Immigrant: not generally influenced by attitudes and values of mainstream society; success measured by standards of their homeland: behavior altered between home and school; highly motivated to adapt to US culture; many have interrupted or limited formal schooling; some believe they will return to homeland

Involuntary: many have lived in US for generations; measure success by mainstream standards; behavior same for school and home; higher rates of school failure than immigrant minorities; may place low value on education as a means to success

important terminology
Important Terminology


English Language Learner


English Language Proficiency


Limited English Proficient


Long-Term English Learner


Limited Formal Schooling


Standard English Learner

quote from atlantic monthly william labov
Quote from Atlantic Monthly William Labov
  • “There is no reason to believe that any nonstandard vernacular is itself an obstacle to learning. The chief problem is ignorance of language on the part of all concerned ....
  • That educational psychology should be influenced by a theory so false to the facts of language is unfortunate; but that children should be the victims of this ignorance is intolerable.”

From Dr. LeMoine at Rochester Teacher Center

second language acquisition cummins theoretical framework
Second Language Acquisition;Cummins’ Theoretical Framework
  • BICS: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
    • Conversational fluency
    • Not the language needed for school success
    • BICS acquired before CALP
  • CALP: Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
    • Command of oral and written academic registers of schooling (Cummins, 2006)
    • Not indicative of higher-order thinking ability
characteristics of calp
Characteristics of CALP
  • Academic texts
    • have high number of words with Greek & Latin roots
    • have greater variety of vocabulary than spoken language
    • are carefully edited and abstract (use of nominalization subordination, & passive voice)
    • use reported speech (past tense, references to distant places, events, objects)
    • use little contextual support (few graphics or text markings)
designing instruction for ells context embedded vs context reduced
Designing Instruction for ELLsContext Embedded vs. Context Reduced


  • BICS
    • Discuss the weather talk on the telephone about
    • Interview a classmate a football game

and write a short biography read an email about a game



    • Work in groups to make read a social studies

a time line of events during chapter & answer

the colonial period end-of-chp. Questions

    • Role-play a key scene from

a novel take a standardized test


ells in the classroom
Ells in the classroom
  • Context of Culture

Help students understand expectations of classroom

culture: how to ask and answer questions, how to

work in groups, how to transition during activities,

when to share information.

  • Context of Situation
    • Field—topic under discussion or topic for writing
    • Tenor—relationship between speaker / listener or reader / writer
    • Mode—means of communication (speech and writing)

Help students understand what is being discussed or written (topic), the relationship of student to task (group work, test), and how they should accomplish task (oral or written)

classroom discourse to assist ells
Classroom Discourse to assist ELLs
  • Use IRF (initiation, response, feedback) when asking questions to extend talk
  • Scaffold instruction to extend language and understanding of academic concepts
  • Plan collaborative group work
  • Practice patterns and responses of oral and written academic language
  • Include a language objective as well as a content objective
developing grammatical competence
Developing grammatical competence
  • Phonological: accompany lectures with handouts, key words written on board, PPT presentations, tapes of class texts
  • Lexical: list of most frequently used words in your content area; frequent oral interaction; extended reading; graphic organizers; context clues; word parts; cognates; dictionaries & reference tools
  • Grammatical: Extensive reading (to provide examples of subordination, passive voice, vocabulary); sentence combining activities
developing grammatical competence1
Developing grammatical competence
  • Sociolinguistic (ability to use language for different functions—academic discourse is acquired):
    • perspective taking for oral communication—intonation, stress, pitch; coherence; background knowledge of listeners; perspective taking for written communication—formal, objective, authoritative.
    • Solidarity and status: need to connect to listeners/readers, and need to assert authority; use of formal language and supporting arguments using facts and specific examples; pair ELLs with native speakers of English
developing grammatical competence2
Developing grammatical competence
  • Discourse (oral and written—ability to structure connected ideas in a form appropriate for the subject area): read expository texts at an early age; supplement textbooks with informational texts; teach students strategies for reading expository, academic texts; scaffold instruction that supports them in reading textbooks; engage learners in motivating and real-world interactions
modifying whole class assignments
Modifying whole class assignments
  • Offer a word bank.
  • Assign fewer questions
  • Allot extra time (for work and to answer questions)
  • Evaluate for content only
  • Offer models and outlines
  • Use diagrams, maps, and charts
  • Sequence pictures
  • Incorporate graphic organizers
  • Use “hands-on” assignments (manipulatives, dioramas, models)
adapt your personal teaching techniques
Adapt your personal teaching techniques
  • *Remember oral language is ephemeral and ELLs take more time to process oral language.
  • Change the pace of your speech (slow down).
  • Enunciate.
  • Limit use of contractions.
  • Use fewer pronouns.
  • Simplify academic language (clarify classroom jargon).
  • Be aware of idiomatic language.
  • Simplify sentence structure.
  • Use gestures.
  • Demonstrate your words.
  • Be dramatic.
adapting classroom based assessments
Adapting Classroom-based assessments
  • Replace M-C questions with a linguistically simplified format: true / false, identification questions, completion questions, cloze questions.
  • In place of essay tests, allow ELLs to use visuals and graphics for responses: graphic organizers, T-notes, sequenced pictures, labeled diagrams and maps.
  • Use alternative assessments such as performance-based assessments, portfolios, information journals, self- and peer-assessments.
  • Focus on content, focus on progress, and give second chances.
  • LeMoine, (n.D.) Standard English Learners. www.rochesterteachercenter.com
  • http://www.mla.org/map_data
  • Reiss, J. (2005). Teaching content to English language learners: Strategies for secondary school success. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.
  • Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E. (2009). Academic language for English language learners and struggling readers: How to help students succeed across content areas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.