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Readiness for ELL Students: Preparing the Learning Environment

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Barbie Miller

on 8 April 2013

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Transcript of Readiness for ELL Students: Preparing the Learning Environment

Preparing the Learning Environment Readiness for ELL Students: Did you know...? In 2009, more than 66% of teachers had not received even one day of staff development specific to working with and meeting the needs of ESL/ELL students.


There are at least 3.5 million children identified as LEP and enrolled in U.S. schools. As an educator you must remember that new ELL/ESL students are working simultaneously to develop the following:

1. A grasp of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes specific to various subjects

2. A better command of the English language

3. An ability to interact with others and function within the social environment of the school Initial struggles that ELL students face... Level 1 The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 3 The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Initial struggles that ELL students face... Language Shock The anxiety that an immigrant experiences when first entering a community in which he or she does not speak, or is not proficient in, the dominant language. Because of this... Students may experience high stress. When this happens the affective filter is switched on, and the student will have difficulty in acquiring the new language. When the affective filter is down, language acquisition occurs more efficiently and quickly. And... The student may avoid speaking their native language, give themselves English names and begin adapting to the rules of the American student. Initial struggles that ELL students face... Pedagogy and Curriculum The curriculum in the United States is known to have a unique American style and lack the appreciation for other cultures. Because of this... Students may lack background knowledge about what they are learning. As a result, this can combine to the stress of learning a new language and students may experience a heavy cognitive and cultural load that could negatively impact their learning more. What can we do as educators to improve ELL student readiness? 1st- Understand the Accommodation Readiness Spiral What is it? The Accommodation Readiness Spiral (ARS) highlights the importance of teachers' readiness to maximize school-family connection to improve students' cognitive development and academic achievement in the classroom. The Accommodation Readiness Spiral 6 level spiral ranging from initial readiness, readiness for critical reflection on practice to readiness for application and advocacy. Wait, what are the 6 levels? Readiness for Critical Reflection on Practice Level 1- Readiness for Critical Reflection on Practice -Teachers bring in years of prior experience when working with ELL students. This may or may not include experience with diverse individuals.

-Effective school educators learn to reflect as well as critically reflect on their perspectives about, their planning for, and their practice with ELL students and families.

-Teacher reflection includes developing the capacity for confronting assumptions and testing the validity of those assumptions (how will things that I have experienced throughout my life impact the way that I teach?) The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 2 Understand that ELL students bring a variety of schooling, cultural, and language experiences to the classroom. As a teacher you should maximize these experiences by incorporating them in your instruction for cognitive and academic growth. By doing so you will reduce or eliminate re-teaching, increase the relevancy of instruction, keep students interested and motivated to learn. Readiness for ELL students and families Level 1- Readiness for Critical Reflection on Practice Level 2- Readiness for ELL students and families The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 2 continued -Teachers will collaborate with bilingual paraprofessionals or parent and community volunteers as needed to visit with families who may not speak English.

-Home visits provide teachers with the opportunity to learn more about their students and their view on education, home life and other responsibilities.

-Teachers will determine the students current level of acculturation which can influence their interest levels, motivations levels, attention spans, classroom behavior and language transitions.

-The students language exposures, experiences and development of their L1 and L2 should also be explored (create a language biography) Environmental Readiness Teachers will examine the internal and external environments that may affect the students.

The external environment includes that community, state and country in which the school is located. How is the community and change of culture going to impact the student's ability to learn?

The internal environment includes the environment of the classroom and school. Is the classroom welcoming? Does the classroom affirm or celebrate the student's culture and language? The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 4 Level 2- Readiness for ELL students and families Level 1- Readiness for Critical Reflection on Practice Level 3- Environmental Readiness Curricular Readiness -Teachers must thoroughly understand the curriculum used, resources available, how curriculum ties to state standards and how the curriculum is based only on the American culture.

-In order to make curriculum cultural, teachers often trivialize culture by only focusing on cultural holidays, ethnic months and put resources up on “ethnic” bulletin boards. Level 1- Readiness for Critical Reflection on Practice Level 2- Readiness for ELL students and families Level 3- Environmental Readiness Level 4- Curricular Readiness The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 4 continued -One way to limit trivialization of curriculum is to use the level 1 on the accommodation readiness spiral- critical reflection. The teacher will reflect to ensure that lessons are planned and delivered in a way that modifies the challenges of ELL students. By doing so the students will have an understanding of the curriculum from their cultural perspective and resources (including bulletin boards) are displayed in the classroom to represent the community of learners.

-SIOP model (learning and language objectives are included in all lessons) The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 5 Programming and Instructional Readiness Effective programming and instructional readiness includes, but is not limited to:
- An understanding of which program models would be effective with and feasible for ELL students in a given school
- An awareness of programming dynamics at the district and school levels
- An understanding of the manner in which district and school programming dynamics can frame or limit decision about instructional approaches or methods for ELL students in the classroom
- A grasp on what instructional methods would be effective and realistic for students in a given classroom Level 1- Readiness for Critical Reflection on Practice Level 2- Readiness for ELL students and families Level 3- Environmental Readiness Level 4- Curricular Readiness Level 5- Programming and Instructional Readiness The Accommodation Readiness Spiral Level 6 Readiness for Application and Advocacy 1st- You must understand that not all programs that have been proven effective will work with ELL students because they don’t always take in account cultural or linguistic diversity in the classroom setting.

2nd-Flexibility is a goal of readiness.

3rd- Theory used must include accommodations that are sensitive in the curricular and linguistic sense.

4th- Teachers must be prepared to deliver differentiated instruction that is student centered and grounded in a foundation of student or family pre-assessment.

5th- Instruction must be implemented not by template, but based on student response to prior curriculum that is process and product focused.

6th- Educators must advocate for ELL students inside and outside the school through knowledge of best practice, understanding of why they are doing what they are doing and why it is important for students and teacher leadership to ensure that all accommodations and modifications are being given to the students to ensure their success. Level 1- Readiness for Critical Reflection and Practice Level 2- Readiness for ELL students and families Level 3- Environmental Readiness Level 4- Curricular Readiness Level 5- Programming and Instructional Readiness Level 6- Readiness for Application and Advocacy The Accommodation Readiness Spiral What does this spiral really show us? The spiral shows that professional development for classroom diversity begins with teachers (reflection), but concludes with applications and advocacy for ELL students and their families. What can using the accommodation spiral do? - Improve classroom participation and school attendance
-Sustain academic achievement gains
-Enhance growth in cognitive abilities across subject areas Misconceptions Common misconceptions of ELL students and families are... -The prior schooling experiences of ELL students in countries outside the United States are consistently inferior

-The curriculum for ELL students and the homework sent to the families of those students should emphasize skill-building exercises, drills, and memorization practice

-ELL students are not yet capable of higher-order thinking skills in English

-Teaching to the test best insures their capacities to demonstrate AYP on high-stakes assessments Suggestions for Educators As educators what can we do to help new ELL students? Give One-Get One You will have two minutes to write down as many ideas as you can on what you can do to help new ELL students in your building or classroom. Then... You will have two more minutes to talk to your classmates to give them ideas that you came up with and get ideas from them that they came up with. Memory Box We are going to take two minutes to activate our prior knowledge of the accommodation readiness spiral. 1st- Draw a large box on a separate sheet of paper.

2nd- In two minutes write down as many details, words, pieces of information or draw a picture of what you can remember about the accommodation readiness spiral from chapter 5. Do you need a hint?... Suggestions for Educators The teacher's use of language -Provide additional "wait time" for students responses to questions

-Be conscious of the vocabulary you use

-Teach and explain the language of the subject

-Simplify sentence structures and repeat sentences verbatim before trying to rephrase (keep sentences short)

-Rephrase idioms and teach their meaning (use pictures to help illustrate the idiom)

-Explicitly state the transitions happening in the classroom (first we are going to... then we will...) Suggestions for Educators Suggestions for Educators -Don't assume that ELL students will pick up on assumptions in the classroom setting.

-Communicate interest in students' linguistic development and set expectations.

-Use a variety of technology to teach students including recorded texts.

-Be aware of the traumatic emotional experiences that immigrant children may face.

-Make sure you know what is going on in each child's life. Many immigrant children will alienate themselves from their family and culture in attempt to assimilate.

-Look at parents as team members, communicate with them and use them as a resource in your classroom to help teach about their culture.

-Encourage students and their families to become involved in their community and provide them with resources to do so if applicable. -Rewrite difficult texts using simpler terms.

-Point out new and difficult words, define them, explain how they are used and provide a picture to represent them.

-Write key words on the board and use visual and other non-verbal cues to present key ideas.

-Provide written notes, summaries, instructions.

-When possible pre-read text with students.

-Encourage students to use their native language in the classroom setting while learning English.

-Use the students' native language, if possible, to check comprehension and clarify problems.
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