Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Plight of the Non-English Speaking Immigrant Child in the US

California and many other states are struggling with meeting the language needs of ELLs in their classrooms. Added to this pressure is the need to "measure progress" regularly through standardized tests. This procedure goes back 10-12 years and is a struggle for ELLs since they don't have enough English to show what they truly know. Gone are the days when beginners didn't have to take such high-stakes tests. Now, every ELL must take such exams regardless of how long s/he has been here.

The video, IMMERSION, capture a day in the life of such a student. In this story, you will observe a determined young Spanish speaking immigrant child try to do "his best" on a high-stakes test in English. What must be going through his mind as he struggles to unlock the message of math word problems with the class laughing at him. As you watch the video, note the behavior of the principal and the teacher--how do they interact with Moises. How does the family support the boy (Moises)? His brother? Think about his probable frustration at knowing the correct answer, but not being able to share his solution with the class due to his lack of English.

If you were in a position to talk to the teacher, principal, family, and Moises, what would you say? Why? Share the video with fellow teachers and see how they react. How would you make all students feel safe and wanted in your own classroom?

ELL Teacher Pros

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