Friday, June 8, 2012

How to Address Common Core Challenges for ELLs in Mainstream Classes

The implementation of the new common core standards will be quite a challenge for ELLs.  Teachers will need to accommodate in ways that they haven't done in several years due to the virtual elimination of ELD/ESL classes for the most part.  These students, regardless of their English proficiency levels (beginning, early intermediate, intermediate, early advanced, and advanced) will no longer be kept in separate classrooms with fellow ELLs anymore.

What will this mean for the mainstream teacher?  It will be now be necessary to not only be aware of their English levels, but to build into the class instruction multiple opportunities for ELLs to learn not just the content, but also English.  Teaching both content and language may sound overwhelming, but it can be done.  How?

Think back to the many professional/staff developments taken over the years dealing expressly with meeting the needs of ELLs.  You were probably taught that all of the items below were effective ways to reach ELLs (and they STILL ARE):

graphic organizers, organized cooperative learning activities, sentence/paragraph/essay frames, academic vocabulary builders, complete sentence responses, incorporation of academic vocabulary in answers (written and oral), think-pair-shares, partner work, repeated checks for understanding without using YES/NO QUESTION format,  regular feedback on assignment progress, constant monitoring in class so that ELL can do the homework, etc. (this blog offers many suggestions to support ELLs--just go to SEARCH WITHIN THIS BLOG and type in what you are looking for AND my website ELL TEACHER PROS).

The issue here is the common core doesn't offer much in the way of assistance in reaching ELLs.  It may be addressed later on as the COMMON CORE STANDARDS are rolled out for all 46 states, but as of now, it is a "work in progress" and that means that teachers will need to support each other in providing a quality education for these students.  Since teachers always rise to the challenge, I expect that ELLs are in good hands.




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