Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Topic: Preparing to Teach English Language Learners (ELLs).

10-second review: There do not seem to be any definitive answers as to how best to work with English Language Learners (ELLs, students whose native language is not English) when the teacher does not know the language of the students. One idea is to use pictures, photographs and posters to encourage the use of the  English language.

Title: “Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners in an English Education Methods Course.” LC DeOliveira and M Shoffner. English Education (October 2009), 96-111.

Summary: Using pictures, photographs and posters generates conversation and experience with the English language. Also, if a reading passage involves objects that can be demonstrated, use the objects.

Comment: These ideas seem basic and can’t be ignored. However as someone once said, when students are reading, the language is academic, not conversational. There is a considerable difference.

The same is true with writing. ELLs need to learn to use academic writing. I keep urging that English teachers have ELLs write for ten minutes each night. The next night the teacher literally corrects the students’ language, corrects the spelling, supplies the necessary word, changes the sentence structure, supplies the proper idiom and so forth. The students review the teacher’s changes, ask questions about the changes and rewrite, incorporating the teacher’s changes to help them visualize their writing as correct English. These ten-minute “essays” are only part of the writing program in which teacher correction is supplied in different ways. RayS.

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