Thursday, April 10, 2008

English as a Second Language

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

Topic: Working with English Language Learners (ELLs) [which used to be called ESLs, or English as a Second Language learners. RayS.]

Summary: Suggests the following topics of techniques for working with "English Language Learners": Modeling, cognates, accessible texts, Internet videos, translators, hands-on projects, and encouraging teachers to study a second language.

Title: “The Importance of Academic Language for English Language Learners.” Lorna Collier. The Council Chronicle (March 2008), 10 – 13.

“Suggestions for Classroom Teachers”:
1. “Using modeling and guided lessons where teachers show how they arrive at a method of, for example, analyzing a piece of literature.”

2. “Using cognates for academic terms, especially those that share Latin and Greek roots.” [Definition of “cognate”: words in two language that have a common etymology. RayS.]

3. “Using accessible texts to engage students, even if this means searching for second-grade reading level books that won’t demean a tenth-grade English language learner.”

4. “Using the Internet to find videos to illustrate lessons.”

5. “Using the Internet’s translation capabilities, and providing students with pocket translators.”

6. “Doing hands-on projects, rather than multiple-choice worksheet, which allow English language learners to demonstrate what they know.” [What exactly does this mean? They will actually use language rather than rote memory? Makes sense to me. RayS.]

7. “Encouraging teachers to study a second language….”

[Comments: All of these techniques are useful. However, I keep looking for underlying principles of teaching “English Language Learners,” whereas most of the articles I encounter on this problem are piecemeal techniques, rather than principles of instruction. I find this lack of a coordinated, systematic approach to the problem of working with students who are learning English as a second language to be frustrating.

I long for a course that models exactly how to work with students whose second language is English. However, maybe this problem is best dealt with by trial and error, depending on the native language, background, and intelligence of the learner. RayS.]

No comments:

Post a Comment