“Addressing the Needs of LanguageMinorities in Mainstream Classes” Authors: 1- Yehannys Negrín Calvo 2 - Rachelle Kaufman Yo no sé; Je ne se pas; Io non so…
The No Child Left Behind reform purposes, 1. increase accountability for student performance, 2. focus on what works based on scientific research, 3. empower parents and expand parental involvement, 4. increase local control and flexibility, have driven school systems to adapt teaching methods to an ever changing multicultural classroom. One of the main issues teachers are facing is the growing number of ELLs. The Needs of Second Language Learners are complex and must be addressed for these students to be successful!The ESOL and content teachers’ challenges are multi-faceted and unique, but there are teachingmethods, strategies and tools that have beenscientifically proven to work. With the support of theschool administration, parents and thecommunity, bilingual education can be largelysuccessful if aimed at meeting the needs of thestudents through a student- centered teaching.
Second language students are coming from: different learning environments. different learning methodology and strategies. different cultural focuses and social value systems.Second language students are experiencing: culture shock, fear, anxiety and loss of everything that was familiar to them. frustration and resistance to learning anything new. discouragement at the difficulty of learning a new language while trying to learn the content their fellow students have acquired.
Stephen Krashens Theory of Second Language Acquisition Developed in the 1980s, and formed the basis of bilingual education in the United States "Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill.”
"Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language- natural communication - in which speakers are concerned not withthe form of their utterances but with the messages they areconveying and understanding.”“The best methods are therefore those that supply comprehensibleinput in low anxiety situations, containing messages that studentsreally want to hear. These methods do not force early production inthe second language. It comes from supplying communicative andcomprehensible input, and not from forcing and correctingproduction.”“In the real world, conversations with sympathetic native speakerswho are willing to help the acquirer understand are very helpful." Stephen Krashen
Stephen Krashen (University of Southern California) is an expertin the field of linguistics, specializing in theories of language acquisitionand development. Much of his recent research has involved the study ofnon-English and bilingual language acquisition. During the past 20 years,he has published well over 100 books and articles and has been invited todeliver over 300 lectures at universities throughout the United States andCanada. This is a brief description of Krashens widely known and wellaccepted theory of second language acquisition which formed the basis forsubsequent SLA research in the 1990s and beyond.Krashens theory of second language acquisitionconsists of five main hypotheses: The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis The Monitor Hypothesis The Natural Order Hypothesis . The Input Hypothesis . The Affective Filter Hypothesis.
The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis is the most fundamentalof all the hypotheses in Krashens theory and the most widely knownamong linguists and language practitioners. According to Krashen there are two independent systems ofsecond language performance: the acquired system and the learnedsystem. The acquired system or acquisition is the product of asubconscious process very similar to the process children undergo whenthey acquire their first language. It requires meaningful interaction in thetarget language - natural communication - in which speakers areconcentrated not in the form of their utterances, but in the communicativeact. The learned system or learning is the product of formalinstruction and it comprises a conscious process which results in consciousknowledge about the language, for example knowledge of grammar rules.According to Krashen learning is less important than acquisition‘.
The Monitor hypothesis explains the relationship betweenacquisition and learning and defines the influence of the latter on theformer. The monitoring function is the practical result of the learnedgrammar. According to Krashen, the acquisition system is the utteranceinitiator, while the learning system performs the role of the monitor orthe editor. The monitor acts in a planning, editing and correctingfunction when the second language learner has sufficient time to focuson form or think about correctness and the rules of grammar. It appears that the role of conscious learning is somewhatlimited in second language performance. According to Krashen, the roleof the monitor should be minor; to correct deviations from normalspeech and add polish. Krashen suggests that there is monitor usage variations amonglanguage learners. There are learners that use the monitor all the time(over-users); those who have not learned or prefer not to use theirconscious knowledge (under-users); and those that use the monitorappropriately (optimal users). An evaluation of the personspsychological profile can help to determine to what group they belong.Usually extroverts are under-users, while introverts and perfectionistsare over-users. Lack of self-confidence is frequently related to the over-use of the ‘monitor’.
The Natural Order hypothesis is based on research findings(Dulay & Burt, 1974; Fathman, 1975; Makino, 1980 cited in Krashen, 1987)which suggested that the acquisition of grammatical structures follows anatural order which is predictable. For a given language, somegrammatical structures tend to be acquired early while others late. Thisorder seemed to be independent of the learners age, L1 background,conditions of exposure, and although the agreement between individualacquirers was not always 100% in the studies, there were statisticallysignificant similarities that reinforced the existence of a Natural Order oflanguage acquisition. Krashen however points out that the implication ofthe natural order hypothesis is not that a language program syllabusshould be based on the order found in the studies. In fact, he rejectsgrammatical sequencing when the goal is language acquisition.
The Input hypothesis is Krashens attempt to explain how thelearner acquires a second language. In other words, this hypothesis isKrashens explanation of how second language acquisition takes place.So, the Input hypothesis is only concerned with acquisition, notlearning. According to this hypothesis, the learner improves andprogresses along the natural order when he/she receives second languageinput that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguisticcompetence. For example, if a learner is at a stage i, then acquisition takesplace when he/she is exposed to Comprehensible Input that belongs tolevel i + 1. Since not all of the learners can be at the same level oflinguistic competence at the same time, Krashen suggests that naturalcommunicative input is the key to designing a syllabus, ensuring in thisway that each learner will receive some i + 1 input that is appropriate forhis/her current stage of linguistic competence.
Finally, the fifth hypothesis, the Affective Filter hypothesis,embodies Krashens view that a number of affective variables play afacilitative, but non-causal, role in second language acquisition. Thesevariables include: motivation, self-confidence and anxiety. Krashenclaims that learners with high motivation, self-confidence, a good self-image, and a low level of anxiety are better equipped for success insecond language acquisition. Low motivation, low self-esteem, anddebilitating anxiety can combine to raise the affective filter and form amental block that prevents comprehensible input from being used foracquisition. In other words, when the filter is up it impedes languageacquisition. On the other hand, positive affect is necessary, but notsufficient on its own, for acquisition to take place.
The Role of Grammar in Krashens View According to Krashen, the study of the structure of the languagecan have general educational advantages when included in high schooland college language programs. The examining of irregularity, formulatingof rules and the teaching of complex facts about the target language is notlanguage teaching, but "language appreciation" or linguistics. The only instance in which the teaching of grammar can result inlanguage acquisition (and proficiency) is when students are interested inthe subject and the target language is used as a medium of instruction.This usually occurs if both teachers and students are convinced that thestudy of formal grammar is essential for second language acquisition andthe teacher is skillful enough to present explanations in the targetlanguage that the students can understand. Also, the filter is low in regardto the language of explanation, as the students conscious efforts areusually on the subject matter, on what is being talked about, and not themedium. Though teacher and student may believe that it is the study ofgrammar that is responsible for the students progress, in reality theirprogress is coming from the medium and not the message. Any subjectmatter that held their interest would do just as well.
Definition of a teaching strategyA purposeful activity to engage learners in acquiringnew behaviors or knowledge. To be useful for ourpurposes, an instructional strategy should have clearlydefined steps or a clear description of what theteacher does.
We have to find better ways to teachthese students in mainstream settings… “I learned some Math in my country. Will I be able to go on here?”
The challenge of teaching language in the contentclassroom in three phases of planning, teachingand assessment should be addressed. Each of thephases consists of the following:• Planning: in addition to regular planning, language teachers must planfor sequencing objectives, language growth, instructional activities toensure comprehensible input, selection of appropriate materials andassessments.• Teaching: as both language monitor and model, the teacher’s role is tofacilitate the negotiation for meaning, ensure comprehension, supportcommunication, and expand and refine student’s language.• Assessment: the teacher must ensure concept mastery as well as languageproficiency.
5 general strategies developing language and literacy skills while engaging in academic content. Building conceptual frameworks: students must understand relationships betweenideas. The use of schemas or interpretive frames; e.g., graphic organizers to helpclarify connections between ideas is suggested. Use of teaching strategies: teachers identify the strategy, explain its relevance,demonstrate its use, provide opportunity for practice and provide tools for studentsto evaluate its effectiveness. Students learn to monitor their own learning in order toexperience success. Focus on reading across all classes: teachers can explicitly teach what good readersdo in pre-, during- and post-reading tasks, and provide opportunities for students torespond to text. Use of free reading: free reading can build vocabulary and reading habits. Studentsmay need to be taught how to select appropriate reading material for level andinterest. Moving beyond the text: at the conclusion of a unit, students may be asked to re-examine or rethink concepts to gain deeper understanding. This approach will forcestudents to return to the text and reflect on its meaning. Developing language is notenough and must be extended to literacy development across the curriculum.
The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Teaching Strategy This model advocates for students learning language through contentoutside the mainstream classroom. Language learners need to be “sheltered” in theirown classrooms where they can receive specialized instruction. The primary goal ofSIOP is building language while the secondary goal is learning content. Both arelearned through teacher-identified key concepts. The SIOP framework rests on thefollowing six principles referred to as instructional categories.Building background knowledge: building vocabulary and prediction tasks.Comprehensible input: adapting materials and text to appropriate language level.Strategies: explicitly developing learner strategies.Interaction: using a communicative approach and cooperative learning.Practice/application: using realia, models, manipulatives, and graphic organizers.Delivery: providing scaffolding, using first language for key concept delivery whenpossible, modeling, and using visual aids such as audiovisuals and multimedia.
Additional Teaching Strategies The methods to approach teaching ESL must be consistent withscientific inquiry, reflect scientific values, strive to lower anxiety and extendbeyond school. The following teaching strategies are recommended.Collaboration: this includes both teacher and student collaboration throughteambuilding and interdependence.Use of modified language: identify words, use less complex sentences and userepetition.Real-life relevancy: teachers are encouraged to consider the background oflearners, use realia, and extend beyond the classroom with field trips and multimedia.Adapted materials: identify essential facts, vocabulary and skills, providesociocultural knowledge, summarize written material orally, and teach previewing,questioning and reviewing skills.
Results of studies examined by Dr. Fred Genesee, Ph. D., Dept. of Psychology, McGill University showed the following effective practices used in programs for English students attending French immersion classes in Canada: 1. integration of language and content 2. creation of classroom environments rich in discourse and 3. systematic planning for language and content. Integrated language and content instruction was deemed more effective than language learning in isolation because language was used for authentic communication. These classes were rich in opportunities for language practice in an activity-centered environment with increased attention to language forms.Studies of recommended strategies: •Think alouds •Problem solving instruction •Student developed glossary
The Content-Based Language Class Teaching Strategy The primary purpose of the content-based language class is toprevent students from slipping behind in their content knowledge whiledeveloping academic language proficiency. The ultimate goal is togradually and completely transition language learners into mainstreamacademic classes. While language instruction is mentioned, the languageteaching strategies presented are not for linguistic development but rathera means to make content-area material comprehensible. Strategies mentioned are:the use of physical activity, visual aids and the environment to conveyconcepts;linguistic modifications such as repetition, simplified vocabulary andredundancy;frequent comprehension checks during lectures;cooperative learning;a focus on central concepts through the thematic approach.
Teaching Strategies to Develop Independent Reading Skills If language learners are unable to comprehend grade-level textthey should be given intensive reading support until they are able tocope with text at the instructional level. Once these students have beenintegrated, a number of different strategies can be used to developindependent reading skills in the content classroom:simplified text to control vocabulary;a balance of whole language and phonics instruction;language experience approach;leveled grouping;cloze tasks;direct instruction of reading strategies.the use of study guides such as skimming, scanning and pre-reading, (Gunderson).
Both content and language teachers sharethe responsibility for a child’s education.There are guiding principles evident in allthe strategies presented: the modification oflanguage and materials is necessary toprovide comprehensible input, the use ofmultiple media enhancescomprehension, students’ thinking skills mustbe enhanced and instruction must be student-centered.
When two teachers collaborate in the process of integrating language and content instruction they should: Observe each other in order to gain insight into each other’s practice; the content teacher should observe the language teacher and vice versa. Collaborate to identify language and/or content challenges. Examine content materials together to select a theme and identify objectives of units for both language and content. Identify key terms. Look for appropriate supplementary materials. Adapt written materials.
Students learn language when engaged and interested, theycan draw on background knowledge, and language learning isembedded in context. Strategies suggested are: the use ofsupplementary materials such as multimedia, models, graphicorganizers; and use of modified language, hands-on tasks,cooperative learning, previewing of content/concepts and requiredlanguage such as vocabulary, forms, functions, as well as helpingstudents organize for learning in advance. Teachers must be committed to a life-long process ofdeveloping culturally informed teaching knowledge. Involvingparents and the community in the learning process of recognizingthe importance of supporting the first language is a must. I know Inglés y Español. What about you?
The Importance of Teacher Understanding and Acceptance of Diverse Cultures “When teachers make an effort to understand and value thecultures of all students, they are better able to develop meaningful andflexible teaching strategies that can help students achieve academic success.Literacy instruction that explicitly builds upon the cultural knowledge,ways of making meaning, and prior knowledge that all children bring withthem to the classroom will encourage children to feel that their culture isimportant and valued in schools.” Strategies for ongoing teacher understanding of cultural differences: The use of ethnographic inquiry Understanding of cultural, cross-cultural and multi-cultural knowledge. Understand the differences between personal and students’ cultures. Commit to life-long building of cultural knowledge and sensibilities and use to bridge cultural gap to develop student relevant lesson plans. Understand that diverse cultures define learning differently than the schools define it, and implement student relevant teaching methods.
Effective School Administrative Support Programs embody the following characteristics:Emphasis placed on first language.Higher-order thinking skills and cognitive development as part ofcurriculum.Teachers were educated and prepared to work with the learner profile.Collaboration at both the student and educator level was practiced.Curriculum was organized thematically.Visual representations and learning journals were used.There was consistent administrative support.Explicit language instruction was part of the curriculum.Teachers were involved in student advocacy.
Classroom Management Strategies to Help Language Learners Adjust• Teachers should announce objectives and activities at the outset of the class• Write legibly• Develop and maintain routines• List and review instructions step-by-step• Present information in various ways to provide multiple entries into content• Provide frequent summaries.Adjust teaching style -• Lessons should be student-centered.• Teacher talk should be adjusted and reduced.• Higher-order tasks should be increased.• Teachers must recognize that students will make language mistakes.Develop differentiated lesson plans for multilevel classrooms -• Cooperative learning is a priority, particularly peer tutoring.• Process writing should become a mainstay.• Discovery learning and inquiry learning need to be fostered.• Useful task types are gaps, interviews and questionnaires.• Include predictable text for emergent readers and text with non-linguistic cuesfor comprehension.Motivate students and build on background knowledge -• Useful tasks are semantic webbing, listening tasks, classdiscussion, KWL, small-to-large group sharing.• Useful materials are realia, graphics and graphic organizers.
ESL teaching techniques can be moved into the content classroomMeeting cognitive needs of learners must be a priority• Initial exploration of topics should be done through oral work; expansionand further work on topic should be pursued through reading and writing.• Consideration for various learning styles should be made.• Teachers should teach thinking and study skills, and develop awareness oftext features.• Scaffolding and models for writing should be provided.Checking comprehension• Many opportunities to check comprehension should be built into lessonsthrough sentence strips, journals, role playing, reading logs, clozeexercises, summaries, experiments and a language experience approach.Lesson plans• Should focus on principal vocabulary, oral practice, and collaboration anduse of appropriate culturally relevant materials.• Include topics related to students personal experiences.
ESL Students with Special Needs The difficulties inherent in distinguishing between normal language development and learning deficiencies English language learners and students with disabilities may makesimilar mistakes while producing the second language like comparabledifficulties with word order and negation. Figurative language such assimiles and metaphors might prove difficult as well. Focusing specifically onthe areas of pronunciation, syntax and semantics, is how teachers candetermine what types of linguistic errors are common to both students withlearning disabilities and normal functioning ESL students. Here are somesuggestions for teachers to help create an inclusive learning environmentconducive to second language acquisition: Facilitating access to oral language comprehension. modifying a teacher’s speech appropriately to ensure understanding; e.g., slowing the rate of speech, using repetition and paraphrasing, and avoiding colloquialisms. Encouraging first language to support second language acquisition and increase student confidence. Providing ample opportunities for reading.
Instructors can work to honor thebackgrounds of ESL learners with specialneeds and also facilitate second language acquisition by: encouraging first language use at home and accessing it inthe classroom to connect first language skills and knowledgeto the second language. assessing the child’s strengths rather than weaknesses;i.e., assessing what the child knows and can bring to theclassroom rather than what the child lacks. connecting with experts in the school and greatercommunity to provide insight on language, culture anddisability. gaining an awareness of one’s own norms, values andcultural practices.
Parental Involvement for Students with SpecialEducational Needs: Empowering Teachers and Parents The continuous involvement of families of ESL students with specialeducation needs is essential. They provide:information about a child’s prior experiences, home life, linguisticbackground, culture and values, and behavior outside of class.ongoing feedback with regard to student growth and progress.needed support to ensure language and learning needs are met and reinforced at home. Engaging in a productive relationship with culturally and linguisticallydiverse parents can be challenging. There may be discrepancies between how parentsand the school view the role of education and parental involvement. Language barriersmight inhibit the establishment of a strong communicative relationship and lead tomisunderstandings between teacher and parent. Teachers might wrongly interpret thislack of involvement as apathy or disinterest. Research suggests that parental and community inclusion and support iscrucial, particularly for those most at risk of being labeled as learning disabled.Empowering both teachers and parents to develop a functional, respectful relationshipis essential to meet the unique needs of ESL students with special needs.
The primary focus of NCLB is to hold schools accountable for the performance of students who are struggling to learn: example ELLs…To accomplish that, there are still challenges to beovercome like:1- The shortage in specialized teachers. Many who fill bilingual education positions are not fully qualified in their preparation and training.2- Resolve the ESL v. bilingual education debate so that all states work in conjunction for the interests of the child in the search to find better teaching approaches. THE END3- Parents, teachers, and children have to recognize the value of education.
REFERENCESEchevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2000). Making content comprehensible for English language learners: The SIOP model. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Hill, J., & Flynn, K. (2006). Classroom instruction that works with English language learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Hoover, J. J., & Patton, J. R. (2005). Differentiating curriculum and instruction for English-language learners with special needs. Intervention in School and Clinic, 40 (4), 231–236.Jesness, J. (2004). Teaching English language learners K–12: A quick-start guide for the new teacher.Ortiz, A. A. (2001). English language learners with special needs: Effective instructional strategies.
Online References:Archibald, J., Bashutski, K., Guo,Y., Jaques, C., Johnson, C., McPherson, M., Roessingh, H., and Shea,C.(2008): A Review of the Literature on English as a Second Language (ESL) Issues. Retrieved from http: //education.alberta.ca/media/903123/esl_litreview.pdfNCTE ELL Task Force (2006): NCTE Position Paper on the Role of English Teachers in Educating English Language Learners (ELLs). Urbana, Illinois.Schütz, Ricardo. Stephen Krashens Theory of Second Language Acquisition. English Made in Brazil <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html>. Online. 2 de julho de 2007.Selinker, L. Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course by Susan M. Gass.Willis, A., I. (2000): Critical Issue: Addressing Literacy Needs in Culturally Diverse Classrooms. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Learning Point Associates. <ncrel.org>