The increase in the number of English-language learners in public schools, coupled with the significant educational challenges faced by this student population, has led to numerous changes in curriculum , instruction, assessment , and teacher preparation. For example, states and national organizations have developed standards to guide curriculum and instruction in English-as a second language programs, while customized teaching and learning materials for English-language learners are now routinely introduced into regular academic courses. Teacher-preparation programs and certification requirements have also been modified to address relevant skills and training, and many states and national accrediting associations require formal training in the instruction of English-language learners.
And in schools with significant populations of English-language learners, relevant experience, credentials, and training are often given priority during hiring and employment.
What Does Research Tell Us About Teaching Reading to English Language Learners?
While there are a wide variety of instructional models and academic-support strategies for English-language learners being used throughout the United States, the following represent the three dominant forms:. Given the culturally sensitive and often ideologically contentious nature of the peripheral issues raised by the participation of non-English-speaking students in the American public-education system—including politicized debates related to citizenship status, English primacy, immigration reform, and employment and social-services eligibility for non-citizens—it is perhaps unsurprising that English-language learners, and the instructional methods used to educate them, can become a source of debate.
The issues of citizenship status and fairness tend to be at the center of debates about English-language learners and the best ways to educate them. Critics often argue that the use of the non-English languages in public schools outside of world-language courses deemphasizes the role of English as a source of linguistic and cultural unification. While critics generally do not object to bilingualism—the ability to speak two languages—they often contend that non-English instruction inhibits or delays the acquisition of English fluency yet there is a growing body of research indicating that increasing reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in their native languages can facilitate English acquisition among English-language learners.
While there is widespread agreement that English-language learners should become proficient in English, debates often center on issues related to cultural assimilation. Those who favor assimilation into American society tend to emphasize English-only policies and instruction, while those who favor acculturation tend to argue for the importance of maintaining bicultural identity and bilingual development.
In addition, since English-language learners and dual-education programs may require additional funding, training, and staffing, debates about fairness and resource allocation may also arise. For more detailed discussions, see dual-language education for debates related to non-English instruction , multicultural education for debates related to cultural education and assimilation , and test accommodations and test bias for debates related to the assessment of English-language learners.
Other related entries include equity , learning gap , achievement gap , and opportunity gap. Reform English-language learners are not only the fastest-growing segment of the school-age population in the United States, but they are also a tremendously diverse group representing numerous languages, cultures, ethnicities, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. While there are a wide variety of instructional models and academic-support strategies for English-language learners being used throughout the United States, the following represent the three dominant forms: Dual-language education , formerly called bilingual education , refers to academic programs that are taught in two languages.
While schools and teachers may use a wide variety of dual-language strategies, each with its own specific instructional goals, the programs are typically designed to develop English fluency, content knowledge , and academic language simultaneously. English as a second language refers to the teaching of English to students with different native or home languages using specially designed programs and techniques.
English as a second language is an English-only instructional model, and most programs attempt to develop English skills and academic knowledge simultaneously.
English-Language Learner Definition - The Glossary of Education Reform
The computer permits students to communicate easily with other students in different places. For instance, blogs can allow English learners to voice their opinions, sharpen their writing skills and build their confidence. However, some who are introverted may not feel comfortable sharing their ideas on the blog.
Class wikis can be used to promote collaborative learning through sharing and co-constructing knowledge. The learning ability of language learners can be more reliable with the influence of a dictionary. Learners tend to carry or are required to have a dictionary which allows them to learn independently and become more responsible for their own work.
In these modern days, education has upgraded its methods of teaching and learning with dictionaries where digital materials are being applied as tools. Most of them contain native-language equivalents and explanations, as well as definitions and example sentences in English. They can speak the English word to the learner, and they are easy to carry around.
However, they are expensive and easy to lose, so students are often instructed to put their names on them. Teaching English therefore involves not only helping the student to use the form of English most suitable for their purposes, but also exposure to regional forms and cultural styles so that the student will be able to discern meaning even when the words, grammar, or pronunciation are different from the form of English they are being taught to speak. Some professionals in the field have recommended incorporating information about non-standard forms of English in ESL programs.
For example, in advocating for classroom-based instruction in African-American English also known as Ebonics , linguist Richard McDorman has argued, "Simply put, the ESL syllabus must break free of the longstanding intellectual imperiousness of the standard to embrace instruction that encompasses the many "Englishes" that learners will encounter and thereby achieve the culturally responsive pedagogy so often advocated by leaders in the field. ESL students often suffer from the effects of tracking and ability grouping.
Students are often placed into low ability groups based on scores on standardized tests in English and math. Students have voiced frustration that only non-native students have to prove their language skills, when being a native speaker in no way guarantees college level academic literacy. Dropout rates for ESL students in multiple countries are much higher than dropout rates for native speakers.
The National Center for Education Statistics NCES in the United States reported that the percentage of dropouts in the non-native born Hispanic youth population between the ages of 16 and 24 years old is Schools that risk losing funding, closing, or having their principals fired if test scores are not high enough begin to view students that do not perform well on standardized tests as liabilities. ESL students face several barriers to higher education. Most colleges and universities require four years of English in high school.
In addition, most colleges and universities only accept one year of ESL English.
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This results in many ESL students not having the correct credits to apply for college, or enrolling in summer school to finish the required courses. ESL students can also face additional financial barriers to higher education because of their language skills. Those that don't place high enough on college placement exams often have to enroll in ESL courses at their universities. In addition, while many ESL students receive a Pell Grant , the maximum grant for the year — covered only about a third of the cost of college.
ESL students often have difficulty interacting with native speakers in school. Some ESL students avoid interactions with native speakers because of their frustration or embarrassment at their poor English. Immigrant students often also lack knowledge of popular culture , which limits their conversations with native speakers to academic topics. These interactions have been found to extend to teacher—student interactions as well.
Teaching English and Language Arts
In most mainstream classrooms, teacher-led discussion is the most common form of lesson. In this setting, some ESL students will fail to participate, and often have difficulty understanding teachers because they talk too fast, do not use visual aids, or use native colloquialisms.
ESL students also have trouble getting involved with extracurricular activities with native speakers for similar reasons. Students fail to join extra-curricular activities because of the language barrier , cultural emphasis of academics over other activities, or failure to understand traditional pastimes in their new country. Supporters of ESL programs claim they play an important role in the formation of peer networks and adjustment to school and society in their new homes.
Having class among other students learning English as a second language relieves the pressure of making mistakes when speaking in class or to peers. ESL programs also allow students to be among others who appreciate their native language and culture , the expression of which is often not supported or encouraged in mainstream settings.
ESL programs also allow students to meet and form friendships with other non-native speakers from different cultures, promoting racial tolerance and multiculturalism.
Peer tutoring refers to an instructional method that pairs up low-achieving English readers, with ESL students that know minimal English and who are also approximately the same age and same grade level. The goal of this dynamic is to help both the tutor, in this case the English speaker, and the tutee, the ESL student.
Monolingual tutors are given the class material in order to provide tutoring to their assigned ESL tutee. Once the tutor has had the chance to help the student, classmates get to switch roles in order to give both peers an opportunity to learn from each other. In a study, which conducted a similar research, their results indicated that low-achieving readers that were chosen as tutors, made a lot of progress by using this procedure.
In addition, ESL students were also able to improve their grades due to the fact that they increased their approach in reading acquisition skills. Since there is not enough funding to afford tutors, and teachers find it hard to educate all students who have different learning abilities, it is highly important to implement peer-tutoring programs in schools. Students placed in ESL program learn together along with other non-English speakers; however, by using peer tutoring in classroom it will avoid the separation between regular English classes and ESL classes.
These programs will promote community between students that will be helping each other grow academically. It was found that students with learning disabilities and low performing students who are exposed to the explicit teaching and peer tutoring treatment in the classroom, have better academic performance than those students who do not receive this type of assistance. It was proven that peer tutoring is the most effective and no cost form of teaching . It has been proven that peer-mediated tutoring is an effective tool to help ESL students succeed academically.
Peer tutoring has been utilized across many different academic courses and the outcomes for those students that have different learning abilities are outstanding.
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Classmates who were actively involved with other peers in tutoring had better academic standing than those students who were not part of the tutoring program. It was also found that the literature on the efficacy of peer tutoring service combined with regular classroom teaching, is the best methodology practice that is effective, that benefits students, teachers, and parents involved. Three different approaches were the focus in which immersing students in English from the very beginning and teaching them reading only in that language; teaching students in Spanish first, followed by English; and teaching students to read in Spanish and English simultaneously.
This occurs through a strategic approach such as structured English immersion or sheltered instruction. Findings showed that the paired bilingual reading approach appeared to work as well as, or better than, the English-only reading approach in terms of reading growth and results. Researchers found differences in results, but they also varied based on several outcomes depending on the student's learning abilities and academic performance. Teachers in an ESL class are specifically trained in particular techniques and tools to help students learn English.
Research says that the quality of their teaching methods is what matters the most when it comes to educating English learners. It was also mentioned [ who? There is a high need for comprehensive professional development for teachers in the ESL program. Template:Citatino needed. Although peer tutoring has been proven to be an effective way of learning that engages and promotes academic achievement in students, does it have an effect on the achievement gap?
It is an obvious fact that there is a large academic performance disparity between White, Black, and Latino students, and it continues to be an issue that has to be targeted.
However it was mentioned that by developing effective peer tutoring programs in schools could be a factor that can potentially decrease the achievement gap in the United States. Learners of English are often eager to get accreditation and a number of exams are known internationally: . Many countries also have their own exams. Between and , the Council of Europe 's language policy division developed its Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
The aim of this framework was to have a common system for foreign language testing and certification, to cover all European languages and countries. Each of these levels is divided into two sections, resulting in a total of six levels for testing A1, A2, B1, etc. Qualifications vary from one region or jurisdiction to the next.
Most people who teach English are in fact not native speakers [ citation needed ]. They are state school teachers in countries around the world, and as such they hold the relevant teaching qualification of their country, usually with a specialization in teaching English. Those who work in private language schools may, from commercial pressures, have the same qualifications as native speakers see below. Widespread problems exist of minimal qualifications and poor quality providers of training, and as the industry becomes more professional, it is trying to self-regulate to eliminate these.