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Language Acquisition of ELLs Using Push-In Techiques

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Ashley Brown

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Language Acquisition of ELLs Using Push-In Techiques

Research Question:
To what extent do push-in techniques promote the language achievement of ELL students with limited proficiency in primary grades?

But wait!

An ELL is defined as a student for whom English is not a native or first language

English language learners (ELLs) are the fastest growing student population in U.S. public schools and a much smaller community of international schools

In the United States between 1990 and 2005 alone, the number of ELLs more than doubled from 2 million to over 5 million, with a majority concentrated in the states of California, Texas, and New York

Internationally, there are over 6,300 English-speaking international schools servicing 3.1 million students, a significant majority of whom are ELL

These students all share one common and significant educational variable: their primary language is not English yet they attend schools where English is often the only language used to communicate.
Got it.
Is there anything else that we should know before we continue?
Actually, YES!
ELL students are often socially marginalized and isolated by their language, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (Capps, Ku & Fix, 2002).
U.S. Census data indicate a strong correlation between the lack of English proficiency and poverty. In 2000 for example, 68% of elementary ELLs were from low-income families which is nearly double the number for proficient English speakers.
Large numbers of ELL students with the greatest language needs are frequently concentrated in high-poverty schools, which historically have fewer resources and shortages of trained ESL professionals (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2011; Fix & Passel, 2003).
Okay, so what does this mean for students?
It means that ELLs require and deserve additional services to be successful in a mainstream classroom. A number of ESL remediation and immersion techniques have been proffered as possible solutions, including “pull out” programs and “push in” strategies (McClure & Cahnmann-Taylor, 2010).

5 (Capps, Ku & Fix, 2002)
6 (Cosentino de Cohen, Deterding & Clewell, 2005).
So how do students get the services they need?
Before students can receive any services, they must first test into the ESL/ ELL program. California uses the California English Development Test (CELDT) to identify students who need improvement in the four main domains of English Language Arts: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
The following chart represents the five stages of language acquisition that help determine the range of services a student will receive.

Keep movin' or click on the following chart to read specifics about the five stages.

Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 5
Stage 4
Stage 1
Students at this stage:
are non-verbal and tend to speak generally incomprehensible English sounds.
exhibit some level of “culture shock” characterized by high levels of frustration, anxiety, and withdrawal.

Teachers often use realia, manipulatives, visuals, and simple texts with numerous pictures to assist these learners, and ask students to observe and respond through physical movement and manipulation of objects.
Early Production
Students at this stage:
begin to repeat language and expressions commonly heard in conversation
ask questions with isolated words and phrases
show signs of relating to class activities
Speech Emergence
Students at this stage of language acquisition:
exhibit increasing proficiency and demonstrate an ability to decode and comprehend certain texts
write simple sentences and self-evaluate their writing
should expand their reading and writing opportunities to include more content, expanded genres, and partnered reading activities
Intermediate Fluency
Students at this stage:

demonstrate a marked increase in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills as well as word attack and comprehension strategies
perform well in the classroom but still need higher levels of guidance and structure than the average mainstream student (Hill & Flynn, 2006).
Advanced Fluency
Students at the stage of Advanced Fluency:
perform almost like native speakers, producing accurate language, using complex vocabulary and grammar in writing and speaking
should continue to read advanced content area reading and build an expressive vocabulary
Project Rationale
Experts predict that by 2020, more than 50% of all American public school students will come from non-English speaking households (Chen, 2009).

Giving these students appropriate support based on need and school and human resources is paramount as this group grows.

Since the wide body of literature that exists on ELL support is relatively limited to "pull out" strategies, the aim of this action research study was to identify, describe, and measure those push-in models currently used in primary classrooms to benefit ELLs.
A Bit About Push-Ins
Push-in programs, which include co-teaching and collaboration between ESL support staff and mainstream classrooms teach through activity and instructional conversation rather than direct instruction (Center for Multilingual Multicultural Research, 2008). Two other popular push-in strategies include station teaching and parallel teaching.

9 (Center for Multilingual Multicultural Research, 2008)
Push-in Strategies
Alternative Teaching
with Roving ESL Support
One teacher reinforces learning that is taught to the whole group
Parallel Teaching
Dividing up a group of students to deliver instruction
Teachers take responsibility for different components of material for small groups
Station Teaching
According to research findings, coupling these techniques used in a mainstream classroom results in higher levels of proficiency at a faster rate than a more segregated ESL program (Cole & McLeskey, 1997). The benefits of the combined expertise of two knowledgeable teachers, fuller classroom participation, and the enhanced feelings of self-efficacy among students in the mainstream classroom account for the higher success levels
(DelliCarpini, 2009).
10 (Cole & McLeskey, 1997)
11 (DelliCarpini, 2009)
Research Methodologies
For this research study, ELL progression towards fluency among primary ELLs was examined using different push-in techniques by ESL personnel and mainstream classroom teachers.

The study participants included a sample of five teachers and 22 students between the ages of six and nine. Sample participants were recruited based on their close physical proximity to the researcher at a small international school in South East Asia. A majority of data was collected from the teacher sample.

Breakdown of Student and Teacher Samples
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Data Collection
All Sample
& Students
were used for both qualitative and quantitative data collection.
Qualitative Data
Quantitative Data
All Sample students were between six and nine years
No teachers shared languages with Sample students. Four of the five Sample teachers were English-speaking Causasians, and one was Filipino-American who spoke English and Tagalog.
Sample participants each completed a Strategy Inventory for Language Learners (or SILL) survey from a teacher or student perspective.
The survey was used to quantify strategies that best promote language acquisition in the classroom.
In 2008, over 70 percent of K-5 ELL students were enrolled in only 10 percent of the nation’s elementary schools (Chen, 2009).
Traditional Pull-Out
ELL will leave the classroom to work one-on-one with a support or ESL teacher.
Inclusion or Co-teaching
ESL support professionals work with the mainstream classroom teacher to provide in-class support for students. This model is now preferred in many districts with limited human and material resources to help address the widening achievement gap between ELLs and native speakers.
Qualitative data in the form
of individual classroom observations
and interviews were conducted during a month-long period. Observations were documented using the English Language Learner Classroom Observation Instrument, known as ELLCOI, to gauge the level of activity, type and tools of instruction, and participation (Baker et al., 2006).
The surveys, observations, and interviews of Sample participants suggested that three teaching strategies were more effective than others:
Results & Findings
More Results & Findings
All five teachers and ESL faculty recognized one major area of concern for ELLs- support time in the classroom, but still commented on the productivity of the push-in model.

Interviews with Sample teachers also suggested that Stage II (Early Production) and Stage III (Speech Emergence) learners most benefited from direct ESL push-in support in the mainstream classroom. ESL teachers could guide their work, scaffold appropriately, and assist several students simultaneously.

Four of five teachers suggested that traditional pull-out support would better serve Stage I (Pre-Production) learners with very limited English because they often struggle to adapt to class procedures, complete basic assignments, and engage in lessons, with or without assistance from an ESL teacher.

Research findings suggest that:

1. Teachers shared one general complaint about the push-in program: time for necessary push-ins. They were confident that increased assistance for ELLs in other content areas besides English Language Arts would have positive results for the entire class.

2. Most teachers prefer a combination of both pull-out and push in programs depending on the abilities of the learner. Two teachers actually preferred push-ins in all cases.

3. The data was slightly too soft and needs further action research at a site with more available Sample participants.

Action Plan for Future Research
Further research is needed to solidify conclusions drawn in this action research. The researcher suggests improvements in four main areas:
Change/enlarge sampling framework.
Conduct research in large public school in United States for more comprehensive study.
Conduct research over a longer period of time.
Use more formal testing data (i.e. Smarter Balance Assessments) to ensure higher degree of reliability

1. The use of visual aids in-
cluding realia, graphic organizers, video clips, pictures, etc.
2. Language rich teaching environment with plentiful opportunities for students to read, write, and speak.
3. Use of repetition by both teacher and students.
Action Research: Continued Application
This action research was initially chosen to address the best ways to assist ELLs in their acquisition of the four main domains of English. The research then sparked interest in other areas including:

Assessing and monitoring development of Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) versus Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) which are easily confused. The former represents academic English while the latter is social (Cummins, 1979).
ELL students are not limited to students who speak other first languages. Native English speakers can also be classified as ELL in their progression towards more fluent academic English. How can students these students best be identified and helped?
What are the best means of identifying and individualizing an educational plan for a gifted or highly-gifted ELL student? How can teachers/ researchers increase awareness of the different ways giftedness is manifested in diverse populations?
Arias, M.B., Morillo-Campbell, M. (2008). Promoting ELL parent involvement: challenges in contested times. Retrieved from http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Arias_ELL.pdf
Baker, K.B., Gersten, R., Haager, D., & Dingle, M. (2012). Teaching practice and the reading growth of first-grade English learners: Validation of an observation instrument.
The Elementary School Journal, 107,
Capps, R., Fix, M., Murray, J., Ost, J., Passel, J.S. & Herwantoro, S. (2005).
The new demography of America’s schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act.
Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute.
Center for Multilingual Multicultural Research (2012). Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE). Retrieved from http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~cmmr/crede.html

Chen, G. (2009). Inclusion or exclusion? The ESL education debate.
Public School Review.
Retrieved from http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/95

Cole, C. & McLeskey, J. (1997). Secondary inclusive programs for students with mild disabilities: Developing curricular alternatives through teaching partnerships.
Focus on Exceptional Children, 29,

Cummins, J. (1979) Cognitive/academic language proficiency, linguistic interdependence, the optimum age question and some other matters.
Working Papers on Bilingualism, 19,

DelliCarpini, M. (2009, May). Dialogues across disciplines: Preparing English-as-a-second-language teachers for interdisciplinary collaboration.
Current Issues in Education

Fix, M., Passel, J.S. (2003, January).
U.S. Immigration- Trends & Implications for Schools.
Presented at the National Association of Bilingual Education NCLB Implementation Institute. New Orleans, Louisiana.

ISC Research. (2012). Retrieved October 12, 2012, from http://www.iscresearch.com/

McClure, G., Cahnmann-Taylor, M. (2010) Pushing back against push-in: ESOL teacher resistance and the complexities of coteaching.
TESOL Journal,
1. 101-125.

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. (2006). The growing number of LEP students 1995/96–2005/06. Retrieved from http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/files/uploads/4/GrowingLEP_0506.pdf

New Jersey Department of Education. (2010) English language learners in the mainstream. Retrieved from http://www.nj.gov/education/bilingual/ell_mainstream/part_one/definition.html

Related Links
Modified SILL Inventory
Modified ELLCOI
(English Language Learner Classroom Observation Instrument)
Bridging the Achievement Gap: KPBS San Diego
Related segment about ELLs in a Chula Vista school
(New Jersey Department of Education, 2010; Arias & Morillo-Campbell, 2008).
(National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2006; ISC Research, 2012).
(National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2011; Fix & Passel, 2003).
(ISC Research, 2012).
Full transcript