Sunday, January 6, 2013

Taking a Closer Look at Long Term English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes

In a typical classroom of 30, there will be undoubtedly be some English language learners.  However, these students will, more likely than not, be those who have been in the American educational system for several years as opposed to new arrivals.  With America's week job market, the number of new arrivals has decreased sharply so schools must rethink the design of support services to meet the academic and language development needs of this changing population.

Typically, long term ELLs are those who have typically been students in US schools for more than 4 or 5 years minimum and are found in grades 6-12.  They exited English language development programs after 2-3 years.  Upon exiting, they were placed in mainstream classes, but their success rates were poor at best since ELD classes do not provide specific support for students to effectively transition to mainstream classes where typically teachers are not trained to address the academic language demands facing these students.  So in effect, long term ELLs are reading and writing several years below grade level.  This handicap makes interacting with textbooks written at grade level quite intimidating and following teacher lectures very frustrating.

The article below addresses the issue with two New York City schools, but the descriptions of the target student population and possible remedies would work in any school with similar populations.  For example, most of these students are possess limited reading and writing skills in their own language so one way to build literacy in English might be to build literacy in their own language.  Content teachers should have time to collaborate with ELD teachers to learn how to incorporate successful SDAIE strategies into their lessons.   Further, schools should network with other schools who have a high graduation rate for this population to copy their programs of success.  LONG-TERM ELLS FACE LONG DIFFICULT ROAD TO SUCCEEDING IN SCHOOL

For suggestions on accommodating ELLs in mainstream classes in very practical terms, use my search bar for your subject area where you will find my simple recommendations on.


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