Education Course: ELL (English Language Learners)
Course: Methods of Structured English Immersion for Secondary Education
Directions: Answer Discussion 1 &2 in 150 words, must use in-cite citation in APA style formatted. Answer Responses in 100 words.
Instructor directions: Please understand at this level it is expected that you include sourcing within your discussion question responses to support your thinking. Please do not just list the source at the end of the posting, include it within the posting and support your thinking.
Discussion 1: What are some of the greatest barriers preventing our schools from meeting the educational goals for ELL students today? What recommendations are offered in your readings that address these barriers? Whom do you see as potential change agents for implementing these recommendations?
Response: Amanda wrote: f we look back over history, the barriers that many non-English learners have faced is inadequacy of the education system. There have been multiple court cases fighting for adequate assistance for those who do not speak English to be educated, however, based on the cases the primary fight has been for funding (Sutton, Cornelius and McDonald-Gordon, 2012). But the issues that English language learners face stretchers beyond the funding of programs they face inadequate programs, inadequate training of teachers to recognize learners needs and barriers, inadequate rules and guidelines for those programs, inadequate testing procedures, and an inadequate definition of students’ overall needs (Zehr, 2009). The two articles reflected in this post offered a glimpse at the battles that have been fought to provide the non-English learners with an adequate education, but the fact remains that there is a lack of understanding of an English language learners (ELL) needs.
According to Ms. Flores, “You can say there is discrimination for the kids who don’t speak English [in Nogales], because the quality of education isn’t the same for them. Politics has been a hindrance in resolving the matter. The Republicans say ‘no’ to more money. The Democrats say ‘yes.’ Education is caught in the middle” (Zehr, 2009, para. 9).
If we look at that brief statement, it is clear that no one has a clear picture, yet, of what ELL need to be successful learners. There are fights for inclusion and there are fights for separate classes, but there is no one clear solution for ELLs, at least not based on what these two articles have demonstrated.
As the barriers become a bit clearer, you would imagine the solutions would too. Though there is not one clear solution, a few recommendations have been made to address these barriers. According to Posey (2021), utilizing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to anticipate and address those barriers upfront by designing a learning environment and lessons that are flexible to the students’ needs rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach can broaden the students’ chances. There is bilingual education, two-way immersion, and increasing the collaboration between schools and the parents of the English language learners.
These recommendations are, however, just recommendations. It is up to educators and parents to fight for the needs of the students. Yes, school policy makers need to focus on acquiring real-data and feedback for programs, integration methods, and educational processes that create an equitable classroom environment for all the learners including ELLs. But it is our jobs as educators to utilize all tools and skills at our disposal to help students grow and learn including collaborating with parents. We have to be the change in the classroom by educating ourselves and practicing a growth mindset. Changes on a larger scale require us to show them what data and practices work.
Response: Lauren wrote: According to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, ELL students are one of the fastest-growing student demographics and are projected to account for one-quarter of us school-age students. (Roekel, 2018) Legislation has a significant impact on ELL students. Current legislation in the “No Child Left Behind Act” necessitates all student subgroups meet academic standards for math and reading without having met English proficiency. Research has shown that teachers lack practical, research-based information, resources, and strategies needed to teach, evaluate, and nurture ELL students, whether those students were born in this country or elsewhere, or whether they are the first, second, or third generation to attend an American public school. (Roekel, 2018)
I believe legislature backed by research, supported by ELL communities and educators, will bring about the desperately needed changes. I teach at a private international boarding school where 75% of the student body are ELLs. Our school begins by assessing students’ language abilities and then places them with counselors trained to guide language development. They also help students complete assignments and guide educators in meeting the needs of ELL students. We have been extraordinarily successful as a school using this method.
Roekel, D. (2018). English Language Learners Face Unique Challenges. Retrieved from An NEA Policy Brief : http://educationvotes.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/ELL.pdf
Discussion 2: Two-way dual immersion programs are gaining popularity in many states. As a future educator, what are your thoughts on this type of program for ELLs? What information from the assigned readings and videos support your opinion?
Response: Amanda wrote: According to Kim, Hutchison, and Winsler (2015), two-way immersion (TWI) involves combing native English speakers who want to learn another language with students who are wanting to learn English, the English language learners (ELL) in the same classroom, learning the same material in both languages. One research study showed that the positive effects for students who were placed in a TWI could be seen as early preschool as the students became more proficient in English without losing out on being able to improve their native tongue (Kim, Hutchison, & Winsler (2015). The TWI has been demonstrated to be successful in areas where there is a large majority of ELL’s and English speakers, but the effectiveness hinges on multiple aspects beyond just that such as the quality of the classroom’s social climate (Kim, Hutchison, & Winsler, 2015). TWI is gaining support as another route to educate ELL as many schools and district are still scrambling to find effective ways to meet their needs as the community of ELL has grown from 1 million in 2000 to almost 5 million in 2018 (William, 2018). The main idea behind this type of education is to shift the view from ELL students as being a burden of costs-staffing, remedial support, added textbooks or virtual tools-to them being an asset for their peers (William, 2018).
I will be honest I do not know a lot about what an English language learner needs. But based on the readings, the videos, and this article The Dual Immersion Solution | Edutopia, I feel like TWI is worthy approach. The research that has been done shows, “that dual immersion programs can sharpen student focus and boost working memory and reading comprehension…[And the] demand is rising faster than the programs are growing—nearly all of them have waiting lists ” (Williams, 2018, para. 2). This says to me that this approach can be successful, and it does not strip non-native students’ culture away from them like English-only programs. This program embraces the students’ native tongue and culture which is so crucial in our world as it a growing melting pot of people.
I can understand that this sort of program has limitations based on location, funding, bilingual educators, and training. But I do see the value in it, and I think that an approach like this is worthy and the ideas behind it should be used to enhance other programs. English language learners are not a burden to our education system, and it is important that we all work to find away to blend together their culture and our culture in a meaningful way. And from what I have read TWI is a program that should be utilized and learned from. We cannot help students succeed if we do not evolve as the world around us evolves