Using English Language Learners NativeLanguage: Bringing their World into the Classroom Dr. C. Allen Lynn firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. N. Pappamihiel email@example.com
Why use a student’s native language in class? Accelerates their English language acquisition Bridges cultural barriers Advances content mastery Increases global awareness for native English speakers who might otherwise not have such exposure to other cultures and languages
L1 Study Buddies Students who speak the same language are allowed to have 2-3 discussions with each other prior to discussing a topic Helps vocabulary development Native English kids who speak some Spanish (former dual language kids) can join in
For example, a 3rd grade teacher is introducing theconcept of Fahrenheit and Celsius in a science lesson. Thisteacher, Mr. Jones, can allow his three Spanish speakingELLs the opportunity to discuss the topic in Spanish for afew minutes if he knows that one of thestudents, Jesus, has a high enough English proficiency tounderstand Mr. Jones’ explanation. Jesus can then have afairly in-depth conversation with his lower proficiency levelclassmates (Marta and Alvaro), helping them to buildschema for these two new vocabulary terms. When theclass comes together to complete a hands-on project, notonly has Jesus further developed his knowledge byteaching something to his peers, but Marta and Alvaro areable to take better advantage of the demonstration andhands-on activity done by Mr. Jones. The important part ofthis strategy is the extended discussion.
L1 Dialog Journals Students write in their L1 using some English as they can Drawings are acceptable as well Builds rapport between the teacher and the student since it allows the student more freedom of expression Teacher and student meet and negotiate meaning Journals can be displayed with student permission
For example, in Mrs. Williams’ 5th grade language artsclass there is a student from Burkina Faso who has lowliteracy skills in English but has a high proficiency inFrench. Mrs. Williams does not speak or write French.However, twice a week she and Ismael sit down anddiscuss his dialog journal entry using the limited Englishlanguage skills that Ismael possesses at the moment.Through rough sketches, a bilingual dictionary, handgestures and mimicking they are able to discuss the dialogjournal entry. Mrs. Williams later prepares a feedbackresponse to their exchange, providing new vocabulary aswell as clarification of any misunderstandings that arose.Ismael is able to review Mrs. Williams’ comments later athis own pace and use those comments in his next dialogjournal entry.
Coding the Text Students make L1 sticky notes and put thought bubbles in the text that they’re working with Allows students to negotiate a text using their native language Allows students opportunities to negotiate meaning between themselves
In this classroom example Mr. Fiveash teaches a fifth gradesocial studies class. Yadira, a new arrival from theDominican Republic, has a limited working proficiency ofEnglish. While she is able to function in the classroomwithout much difficulty, she does not completely understandsome of the more demanding texts. With this in mind, Mr.Fiveash prepares a copy of the chapter on exploration ofthe Americas by Europeans for Yadira using thought bubblenotes above the most pertinent passages. Yadira, knowingthat these sections are important, is able to fill in thebubbles with notes in her L1. Later she can use thesenotes to create graphic organizers and other helpful notes.
Cognates Vocabulary that is similar between languages costa=coast circulo=circle Can help with vocabulary development for both ELLs and native English speakers For many ELLs, including Spanish speakers, many cognates are highly academic words sίntesis= synthesis tectόnico=tectonics acerlerar= accelerate
There are two students from Mexico City in Ms. Dowdy’sfifth grade science class, and the lesson is one in whichstudents are studying Newton’s First and Second Laws ofMotion. Coming from a school known for academicexcellence, the twins, Manuela and Ricardo, are veryfamiliar with the material in their L1. However, English stilltends to give them trouble. Manuela and Ricardo arealready familiar with some of the academic vocabularybecause many of the words have direct Spanish cognatesthat they use quite often(object=objetos, accelerate=acelerar, dependent=dependiente, etc.). Putting Manuela and Ricardo into separate smallgroups with 3 to 4 native English speaker students who arealso having trouble with the assignment, Ms. Dowdyinstructs the group to look for cognates in the reading.Discussion of the vocabulary allows both the languagelearners and the native speakers to flesh out the gist of theclass assignment.
Word Walls Word Walls are common enough in elementary classrooms, but are very useful for ELLs as well Word Walls can be in any language Exposes all students to different linguistic codes
Hanna is a fourth grader from Korea. She arrived in Mr.Brown’s science class halfway through the springsemester. Hanna has studied English grammar.However, she is shy and struggles with speaking. Mr.Brown puts Hanna in a group with 3 native Englishspeakers working on a word wall project. Using the text asa guide, the students create a glossary for a unit on thesolar system using both English and Korean. Hanna is ableto participate with the other students while having littlepressure to speak in front of a large audience. Otherstudents in class ask her how to pronounce the words inKorean.
Conclusions Teachers should not be hesitant to use a student’s native language in the classroom Even if the ELL speaks English well, using his/her L1 in class helps to bring different cultures into the classroom that moves beyond superficial treatments of multiculturalism