English Language Learners

1899 Words8 Pages
racie Allen of the comedy team of Burns and Allen was once asked how one should speak French. She replied, “Well, you speak it the same way you speak English; you just use different words.” When trying to assist in instructing English language learners, they usually have many concepts and language abilities that they need to master, as do the teachers that are trying to teach them. With the incorporation of the concepts and approaches to identify and assess the issues and concerns that we have learned in our classroom instruction, such as lesson preparation, building background, and comprehensible input, we can indeed teach our future English language learners all the right moves with all the right words. One of the first challenges that ELL instructors must come to terms with is the identification and assessment of their students’ learning capabilities in their classroom. Traditional identification instruments designed for English speakers may not be valid with English language learners. Identification of English language learners with special needs should include consideration of several factors, such as family history, developmental and health history, first language and literacy development, previous schooling, and the learners' current academic ability, just to name a few. Learning in any language is affected by learning disabilities, but second language learners with special needs present additional educational challenges. According to the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Skills, and Training (Fowler & Hooper, 1998), instructors of English language learners with special needs should consider the cultural, developmental, and first language background of the learner. They should also do the following: (1.) Provide a highly structured learning environment; (2.) Focus on contextual learning; Build on learners' prior knowledge; (4.) Provide constant review; (5.) Simplify language; (6.) Build other skills while developing English. The use of standardized testing to identify and assess the progress of English language learners with special needs is problematic. Normally designed for native English speakers, many assessment instruments do not reliably assess speakers of other languages because they ignore differences among linguistic and cultural groups (Schwarz & Burt, 1995). Assessment of English language learners with special needs should... ... middle of paper ... ...e into consideration the characteristics of young English language learners and their language development, the learning conditions that are most effective for these learners, and the kinds of instruction that best meet their needs. Bibliography De Houwer, A. Two or more languages in early childhood: Some general points and practical recommendations (ERIC Digest). Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. (1999) Echevarria, J. Teaching language minority students in elementary schools (Research Brief No. 1). Santa Cruz, CA, and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence. (2003) Fowler, J., & Hooper, H.R. ESL Learners with Special Needs in British Columbia: Identification, Assessment and Programming. British Columbia: The British Columbia Ministry for Education, Skills, and Training. (1998) Peterson, J. Michael and Hittie, Marie Michael. Inclusive Teaching : Creating Effective Schools for All Learners. Pearson Publishing. (2003) Schwarz, R., & Burt, M. ESL Instruction for Learning Disabled Adults. ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. (EDRS No. ED 379 966) (1995)
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