Monday, October 22, 2012

Schooling ELs

As a former student who moved to a new country, had to learn a new language and then learn in that language, I can easily identify with the struggles English learners face in my classroom.  Not only do they face language barriers, but they deal with the stress of navigating in a new place, finding new friends, and trying to understand new structures and expectations in school.  These aspects of mixing into their new home can create a social injustice by creating barriers for them to achieve success in their education.  There are several ways I can address the needs of ELs.  In order to engage them in the class, it's important to incorporate their contributions, both linguistic and cultural, into classroom discussions so they feel they have something to offer the class.  Encouraging them to continue to pursue literacy in their own language also exposes them to complex ideas, concepts and vocabulary that will allow them to comprehend those ideas in English.  Finally, having high expectations of ELs while scaffolding their learning motivates them to strive for to do their best in coursework and in developing fluency.

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