Discussion in 'General Education' started by Geologygirl, May 15, 2019.
May 15, 2019
Should English Language Learners be in an EL class or just mainstreamed with other kids. Opinions?
May 27, 2019
What level are the kids? In my district elementary kids are mainstreamed and ELL is a pull-out program. Students get seen daily for at least 30 minutes. Level 1 students get seen by the ELL teacher twice, or 60 minutes, each day unless we have a shortened schedule. At the secondary level, ELL is one of the class periods. Again, amount of time spent in the ELL classroom depends on the students' language levels. EL instruction is a federal mandate, so they can't just get rid of it.
May 28, 2019
I've never seen a course that was fully EL--it was always a pull-out system as well.
As has been said, they can't just deny EL services.
I teach independent study but we do offer some classes the students can take (electives, math, I teach 2 English classes) We do offer an ELD (same as ELL) class and EL students are placed in it, it's mandatory. If they don't make it to class, we can't do anything, but we must offer it and we must enroll them.
Are there any exceptions based on tiny numbers of eligible students? For some reason that seems to be something that a vaguely remember from one of my courses, but you never know - I could've actually been sleeping and it was only a dream.
I don't know how it is in other states, but the CA Dept of Education states that we must provide ELD to students who are identified as English Learners. The English Language Development (ELD) can be pull-out or push-in. Totally up to the district/site. We have 1.196 million EL students in the state of CA.
Yes, ELs should be mainstreamed with their English-Only peers. However, they do need designated ELD time. It's against the law to not provide these services to kids.
Well, my district did it for several years. Back when I started, our EL students were seen in a pull out program. Than we got a new EL director who for whatever reason seemed to have a TON of pull in the district. She was super gung-ho about "co-teaching" since she'd seen it done successfully in a nearby district. That district only did it at one school, and they hired one EL teacher per grade level.
At my school, we had 1.5 EL teachers for 7 grade levels. They tried to cluster the kids to make it easier, but in many grade levels there were so many that they still needed to be put in two classrooms. So basically what happened is that "real" co-teaching happened in maybe 3-4 classes, where the EL teacher was planning and teaching in the room. Due to the amount of time that takes, the rest of the classes got nothing. Some entire grade levels got no services at all. They said EL was "consulting."
Two years ago, they cut the EL director position and put EL teachers under the sped director, which meant we got another .5 for 2 total positions. In our building, the EL teachers started "parallel teaching" in writing. They taught the gen ed curriculum in smaller groups with more scaffolds. It didn't require as much planning with classroom teachers, so they were able to see every grade level.
Next year they are changing it again. We have one cohort of kids that is just the most awful bunch of students all together. They'll be in 4th now and they've driven teachers out in droves since K. This past year P tried putting the most impacted with some models in a small class together (13 students) with a full time para, modified schedule, and daily social/emotional learning as well as meditation, etc. They literally went through 4 teachers during the year. So P's next brilliant idea is to do the "true co-teaching model" with this cohort next year. There will be a class that has the gen ed teacher and an EL teacher in there full time all day long.
That leaves the other full time person with 6 grade levels. Not sure how much she'll be able to do. In a previous district, the year I was there was the first year they'd actually had EL teachers. Previously, they'd given the classroom teachers an ELD curriculum and a set time of day they were to teach it. From what I've heard, they've since gone back to not having EL teachers.
Is teaching ELs not embedded in your credential? Or is there a specific credential/specialization for that?
It's a separate certification, although interestingly many schools don't actually require their EL teachers to have it. IDK about now, but ours used to say it was "preferred" but only elementary cert was required. The state actually just made some new law that all teachers will have to get 45 PD hours for teaching ELs for your license. Obviously that's nowhere near getting an entire degree in it or anything though- it's the equivalent of one 3 credit class.
Our district doesn’t have any ELL teachers at all. It is rare that we have non-native English speakers. So rare that I only remember two in my 26 years with the district. The two students spoke no English. The district provided transportation to a neighboring county with services available.
My school provides little to no services. I'm sure they do "on paper", but in actuality ELL students are just mainstreamed and not given any special attention. It's up to the teacher to differentiate as needed.
NJ has a specific certificate for ESL, and it involves successfully completing anywhere from 15-27 graduate credits from a university that offers a MED in Teaching English as a Second Language. This is in contrast to, say, Texas, where you simply need to pass an exam, without any additional graduate credits. (Not picking on Texas - I just happen to know exactly what that state requires for a credential). We do not have a nationally unified way of preparing teachers to teach ESL, nor do many school administrators know exactly what it means to be an ESL teacher. My first interview in NJ for ESL, the principal asked me how well I spoke Spanish. I told him I didn't speak Spanish. He then claimed I couldn't be an ESL teacher because I didn't speak Spanish, but by this time I was finished with his "interview", so I asked what would I do if the students in question spoke Chinese? He looked at me like I had two heads and told me "they always speak Spanish". He didn't understand that I wasn't applying to teach Spanish, but to teach any non-native speaker how to speak, read, and write English, irregardless of what their L1 happened to be.
My son and I both earned our MED in TESL and I incorporate it within the SPED students I teach, who mostly have an L1 other than English, and my son is an ESL teacher in VA. At his high school, they use both pull out and co-teaching or push-in. In NJ, pull out is much more common in the K-6 levels, but for newcomers, at any age level, pull out may be the way to go if they are newcomers with virtually no use of the English language.
Teaching English to younger learners is very different to teaching English to a newcomer at the high school level. You lack the time to take all of the little steps that build the L2 in a more native speaking way, incorporating academic language along the way. Newcomers who come as teens are anxious to learn the Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) that will help them in their every-day lives, but Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) is necessary to do well in the coursework they need to pass to earn their high school diploma. Many of the students in the upper grades are content to learn BICS, especially if they are not even literate in their L1. Being able to speak a language does not mean you can read the language, and I have had students who were not truly literate in their "native" tongue or in the English they have acquired. They can speak the language of their parents, but have never been taught the basics of reading the language because the parents also lack the ability to read.
As that first interview for an ESL teaching position taught me, we often have people in charge of hiring when they can't even know what is involved, or even the actual duties required to be an ESL teacher - which doesn't include speaking any kind of foreign language. How nice it would be if the qualifications were uniform, but I don't see that happening in the near future. This thread has given us a glimpse into the complexities of ESL and ELLs.
Very informative post. So glad you chimed in!
May 29, 2019
California may be unique in embedding the EL authorization into every instructional credential, @YoungTeacherGuy. In addition, California offers a single-subject English Language Development (ELD) credential, the primary instructional target audiences of which are teenaged newcomers (whose needs vickilyn has already detailed) and students who are not newcomers but who have not yet achieved fluency in English: both groups need support in acquiring the academic English skills that will make it possible for them to function in their other coursework. In addition, ELD is classified as a World Language credential, with the (entirely sensible, in my view) result that ELD coursework applies to an English learner's World Language requirement.
I taught in AZ. In the schools I taught in, we didn't have ANY ESL teachers or service providers... it was all on us. So there I was trying to learn how to teach for the first time, and develop my little guys' English proficiency... it wasn't pretty and I think I did a huge disservice to those students during my first years. The pathetic little SEI endorsement I got from AZ did nothing to help. I think they should be mainstreamed, but I also think they should get additional / supplemental instructional support from a certified ESL teacher just like a student receiving math or reading interventions would. If that includes a mixture of pushing in or pulling out, that's up for the school to decide. That said, if we had enough ELLs in a grade level, they would be in an ELD/SEI (Structured English Immersion) class. I haven't taught one so I really don't know how beneficial it was (or not) for the kids. I do know there is all kinds of research on this topic... and there has been for decades. I personally believe they should be mainstreamed with the support that they need even if it means co - teaching with an ESL teacher.
PREACH! I think this is definitely true for small town/ rural areas that don't have much cultural or linguistic diversity. They don't necessarily understand the growing ELL population or the fact that they aren't all just "Mexicans'' in this country. And even within ESL itself, the students' English knowledge can vary which requires different kinds of understanding and instruction on behalf of the teacher. But you have to have strong knowledge in language development and acquisition and instructional practices to help. I will say it definitely DOES help if you, as the ESL teacher, can speak the students' language or know a second language yourself as it makes the process much more relatable, but as you say, it's NOT a requirement. 1. We need more ESL teachers and 2. more ESL teachers becoming admin to truly make change. And language development in ALL of the students' languages need to occur, you can't just teach one and neglect the other. Ideally language development and progression will happen in L1 and L2. This is something that our professor hit us over the head with in graduate school. It stuck!
Of our 30 full-time classroom teachers, 25 teach thirty minutes of designated ELD (which is a deployment model). Students go to different classes based on their grade-level and or language proficiency. The five teachers who don't teach ELD lead an enrichment class for English-Only students.
I had a similar experience my first year. One of my students had just moved from Mexico due to cartel violence threats against the family, and the move had happened very suddenly. The student spoke not a word of English, and also had some behavior problems, which I at first attributed to adapting to a new culture. Later on, in a parent conference in which I requested a translator but did not receive one, through extremely broken English on the parents' part and broken Spanish on my part, I learned that the student had had behavior problems and a diagnosis of ADD in their home country also.
It was overwhelming as a first year teacher. I did the best I could, and modified as much as possible, but the school's only real suggestion was to stick him on a beginning readers computer program while I taught my other students lessons. No services were provided at all.
May 30, 2019
I'm having the same problem. Parents do not understand any notes I send home. Student is able to understand some of what I say but is having difficulties since he also has multiple disabilities. We have gotten the student to act appropriately by modeling since he does not understand many verbal prompts. The parents are making no effort to bring english into the home to help the student since they were told we would not instruct him in his home language (I have no idea how they could even ask that). The only good thing is we have a translator via phone when needed but that doesn't help on a day to day basis. We are in a private school for students with disabilities so since there's only maybe 2 or 3 EL kids there aren't going to hire an EL teacher.
Sharing a link to a free webinar that seems appropriate for this thread:
5 Evidence-Based Literacy Strategies for English Learners edWeb.net
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