Differentiating Instruction: English Language Learners • Karen Lopez • Math and Science Divisional/Dean of Attendance at Larkin High School • firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching English Language Learners • To devaluate his/her language or to presume Standard English is a better system is to devaluate the child and his/her culture and to reveal a naiveté concerning language. • Joan Baratz, 1968
Why is English Difficult to Learn? He could lead if he would get the lead out.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? The bandage was wound around the wound.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? They were too close to the door to close it.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? The buck does funny things when the does are present.
Why is English Difficult to Learn? I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
N-activity Simulation Activity: • When I tell you to, turn to someone near you and explain everything you have planned for Spring Break. • You will need to talk for approximately 30 seconds so make sure to be very descriptive. Use all the time. • Take a few moments right now to collect your thoughts and plan what you’d like to share.
But… • Here’s the catch: You MAY NOT use any words that contain the letter “N” • That leaves out went, and, then, next, and many, many others • Go!
Please tell me… • What the other person said. • Please share what you said. • How did this make you feel? • Did you have enough time to think?
True Story Theresa Roberts, a kindergarten teacher at Kaahumanu Elementary School in Honolulu, had just finished welcoming her new kindergarten class and introducing herself. As she wrote her name and the school’s on the chalkboard, she felt a whisper say, “Teacha, I like go pee.” Turning around, she saw a pleading face of Nohea Kealoha. “What did you say?” Ms. Roberts said disgustedly. In a slightly louder voice. Nohea repeated herself, “I like go pee.” With classmates beginning to giggle, Ms. Roberts exclaimed, “You will go nowhere, young lady, until you ask me in proper English. Now say it properly.”“I no can,” pleaded Nohea. Ms. Roberts proceeded with her lesson.
Do teachers have a right to expect and demand Standard English from their students? • How important is it for students to be able to speak Standard English? • If a student is able to communicate well enough in his or her nonstandard English for others to understand, why should educators be concerned with nonstandard English usage?
Ending of the Story A few minutes later, the occasional giggle exploded in a chorus of laughter. As Ms. Roberts turned to Nohea, the child was sobbing as she stood in the middle of a large puddle of urine on the classroom floor.
“They speak English perfectly well.” BICS Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills The language necessary for day to day living, including conversations with friends, informal interactions. CALP Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency The language necessary to understand and discuss content in the classroom.
BICS • Basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) are language skills that are needed in social situations. • Social interactions are usually contextembedded. • They are notvery demanding cognitively. • Usually develop within six months to two years after arrival in the U.S.
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency • Cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) refers to formalacademiclearning. • This includeslistening, speaking, reading, and writingabout subject area content material. • This level of language learning isessentialfor students to succeedin school. • Usually takes students from five to seven years to become academically proficient.
Facts • Only 30% of all secondary students read proficiently, for students of color: 89% of Hispanic and 86% of African American middle and high school students read below grade level (Perie, Grigg & Donahoe, 2005) • 96% of the 8th grade limited English proficient (LEP) students scored below the Basic level (Echevvaria, Vogt & Short, 2008) • English learners have some of the highest drop-out rates and are more frequently placed in lower ability groups and academic tracks (Latinos in Education, 1999: Ruiz-de-Velasco & Fix, 2000; Steinburg & Almeida, 2004) • Only 10% of young adults who speak English at home fail to complete high school, but 31% for young adult English learners (NCES, 2004)
How do ELL students learn? • “ELL children should be allowed to develop a firm grasp of basic concepts in their home language prior to instruction of academic concepts in an English-only environment”(Gollnick and Chinn, 2009). • “We learn by integrating new input into our existing cognitive structure or schemata (Cummins, 1996).
Classroom Focus • By 2026, their will be approximately 15 million students with limited proficiency in Englishenrolled in our schools (Gollick and Chinn, 2009). • Understand cultural and linguistic differences and to recognize the value of these differenceswhile working to enhance the students linguistic skills in the dominate language. • Communicate the importance and advantagesto be able to speak and understand Standard English in certain educational, vocational, and social situations.
Lesson Planning A child’s language ability can easily be over-estimated by looking at the BICS and not realizing the complexity and difficulty that second language students have in acquiring CALP in the second language. Think about the student with whom you will work. Do you think you will see big difference in their BICS vs. their CALP abilities?
Ways to support ESL students • High Expectations • Visuals • Provide simplified language • Extended Time • Written Instructions • Opportunities to Listen/Speak/Read/Write • Modified Assignments • Provide Background for Contexts
Things to remember! • An ELL student is learning a new language while learning new academic content. • Need more support than the average native English-speaker. • Focused language instruction is critical. • Avoid “watered down” content. • Ideas should be presented in context. • Use manipulatives, realia, pictures, videos, demonstrations, movement, gestures, drama, graphic organizers, multimedia, and activities that are experiential and hands-on.