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Transcript of Abdul
Strategies for Overcoming Barriers in literacy for ELL Students
Roxanne & Sabrina
By acknowledging the role of literacy in a student’s culture, the teacher can begin to understand the student’s perspectives and academic needs. Teachers can work to integrate different aspects of a student’s culture into their daily instruction. Teachers can encourage students to work with one another in peer groups to benefit the ELL student
"Reading and writing float on a
sea of talk" James Britton
Our student Abdul is new to Canada
and is learning English
Teachers may not understand the role of literacy development or the importance of literacy and education in diverse cultures
Teachers must learn the backgrounds of their students
and the role of literacy and language in their culture (Helfrich 2011).
Books that are implemented into the classroom library should be books that value diversity, respect, and acknowledgement of diverse cultures (Helfrich, 2011).
Diffrerentiate instruction for the ELL
Manyak (2007, 198) affirmed that instruction should not only be language-rich, but should be socio-culturally informed as well; this entails teachers “recognizing valuable cultural experiences and resources [students bring with them to class] and finding ways to incorporate them into classroom activities. [Connecting] literacy activities to [ELLs’] out-of-school lives can lead to meaningful, engaging, and sophisticated literate activities.”
Efforts exist today to explore other cultures in the classroom. For example, many schools highlight and celebrate holidays or special events that pertain to a certain culture, such as Cinco de Mayo celebrations or a Native American ritual for a certain season or time of year.
A day or a portion of it is dedicated to learning about that event's significance and historical purpose. Often, a celebration is held with traditional food, dress, or games.
These events can be both fun and informational, and can highlight the students in the classroom that represent that culture in a way that gives them a positive spotlight and a platform to share what they know with others. This is important because in other areas, the student may be incorrectly perceived as being deficient in some way due to language barriers.
Applications at Home
1. Tell the child that they are interested in them learning English and in their progress at school and that they are proud of their abilities to communicate in English
2. Regularly open lines of communication with the childs’ teachers
3. Share this with parents “Families of cultural backgrounds, education, and income levels encourage their children.....and keep them focussed on learning and homework.
Teachers may struggle to meet the literacy needs of all learners in their classroom, especially those of ELL's
Teachers that take the time to explore the backgrounds and interests of ELLs are able to ask thought-provoking questions or plan assignments around areas of interest to the student. This is effective in any classroom setting, but in the case of the ELL, it creates a critical connection between the background knowledge they possess and the academic requirements of the classroom.
ELLs learn English primarily by listening to language in use around them, and using context to determine the meaning of the spoken words.
teachers should be aware that they model good language use for students every time they use oral language.
Methods for speech adaptation include paraphrasing and repeating words, sentences, and directions in different ways to allow every type of learner to succeed in comprehension. The use of hand gestures, pictures, and props may also help make meaning more clear (Teale 2009).
Shanahan and Beck summarized that ELLs may benefit when teachers allow more time for independent reading, read to students, and engage students in in-depth literature discussions. Additionally, instruction in both reading and writing should be explicit (Manyak 2007; Schulz 2009).
Not only does learning take place at school, but also at home for English Language Learners. Parents need to be willing to assist their child at home by supporting them in the following areas
In other words, all families can, and often do, have a positive influence on their children’s learning” (Henderson & Mapp, 2002, p.34)
A welcoming and inclusive multicultural school
is one in which students and parents of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds feel welcome, valued, and included.
develop a plan that includes all staff in welcoming
and supporting newcomers (e.g., assigning roles and responsibilities, timelines) and in checking on the plan’s effectiveness
brainstorm what the school might do to ease the transition experienced by newcomer families (e.g., have as an agenda item during staff meetings, familiarize staff with relevant community resources, emphasize the importance of pronouncing children’s names correctly)
develop routines and responses that consider the cultural norms of students in the school
periodically revisit the ways in which they provide key information, such as information about school safety and upcoming events
1. Let the child know that learning English for them is important not only for communication in their new country but also for their cognitive development, learning a new culture, and for future possible employment opportunities, and to meet new friends
2. Parents can also encourage good study habits, and organize a time and place for them to study at home
3. Help them when you can
Teachers may not be aware of the value peers, including other ELLs, have in the inclusion and education of ELLs
1. They should use partner-share, group activities, and peer tutoring, including other ELLs whose knowledge and use of the language is further progressed than others.
2. Including time for students to work collaboratively is important; the authors have seen that what students learn from their peers is as much, if not more, than what they learn from their teachers.
3. If the classroom is viewed as a social system, in an equitable classroom, the teacher delegates authority to groups of students and holds them accountable for their learning; the students then work together to acquire knowledge (Cohen and Lotan 2004).
It is beneficial for ELL students to engage in activities outside of the classroom. They can interact in English in a more authentic way with their English speaking peers by joining sports teams or club that the school offers.
Have your child volunteer at local community
events with their peers that will engage them to
communicate in the target language
Invite friends of your child to participate in family outings
Have your child join a sports club or activity outside
of school to make connections of what they are
learning in class to real world communication
Hall, K. W. 2008. The importance of including culturally authentic literature. Young Children, 63(1): 80–86.
Manyak, P. C. 2007. A framework for robust literacy instruction for English learners. Reading Teacher, 61(2): 197–99.
(Henderson & Mapp, 2002, p.34)
Teale, W. H. 2009. Students learning English and their literacy instruction in urban schools.
Reading Teacher, 62(8): 699–703.
Schulz, M. M. 2009. Effective writing assessment and instruction for young English language learners.
Early Childhood Education Journal, 37(1): 57–62.
Supporting English Language Learners in Kindergarten- A practical guide for Ontario educators, p.71
Cohen, E. G. and Lotan, R. A. 2004. “Equity in heterogeneous classrooms”. In Handbook of research on
multicultural education, 2nd ed., Edited by: Banks, J. A. and McGee Banks, C. A. 736–52. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Teaching English Language Learners: Strategies for Overcoming Barriers
Heifrich, Sara R, Bosh, Amy j, The Educational Forum (Jul-Sep 2011): 260-270