Saturday, September 14, 2019

Research-based Strategies for English Language Learners Essay

Today, it is common in schools to combine English language learners of differing ability in one class. Students are classified according to their English language ability in order to facilitate cooperative learning groups and to track their progress. A student’s English language ability can be classified into ELL (Emergent language learner) – someone who has just begun learning English, Limited English Proficient (LEP) – someone who has reached a level between Basic Interpersonal Communication (BIC) that permit the student to intermingle with peers on a social level and Cognitive Academic Language (CALP) that allows the student to intermingle at a deeper level with content, and Native English speaker –someone whose first language is English. This arrangement can present many obstacles learning. Teachers will be up to more challenging tasks in creating a language receptive classroom where all students could reach their highest potential in learning. The teacher should create a classroom environment where students would feel comfortable in trying a new language. Adapting to language and culture is very difficult and could take years. The teacher should also foster an environment that is respectful of language and culture. Ideally; it should be free from taunting and embarrassment. An interactive classroom should open more opportunities for ELL to use English in communicating with native speakers. They need to experiment with new language terms and test their ideas of putting words together. In addition, certain strategies have been found to be particularly helpful in providing a learning community where everyone has access not only to learning English, but also the content. This paper determines to examine the effectiveness of these strategies according to current researches and to examine the implementation of these strategies to English language learners. These strategies could help even the most season teacher and the inexperienced ones. Pre-instruction activities Pre instruction activities help students acquire new knowledge by building on the English language learner’s prior knowledge. These activities are of assistance for all the students in the classroom to get ready for the new information. Some of the things that can be employed as pre-instruction activities that can be used are semantic webs, graphic organizers, timelines and charts and graphs. These strategies determine where the students stand in relation to the content of the upcoming lesson. Pre-instructional materials help prepare the student to learn new lessons. Semantic webs, graphic organizers and K-W-L charts are useful for students in organizing their thoughts and ideas. These pre instruction activities can be used daily, building on the prior knowledge and adding more and more information to store knowledge. Pre-instruction activities also stimulate critical thinking through the development of charting and mapping skills, Graphic organizers, webs and charts can also help students understand the relationship of information being presented and the application of that information. (Reiss, 2006). K-W-L chart is an example of a graphic organizer. K -W-L is an instructional activity for supplementing framework development and constructing meaning from text to students. This tool can be used for all levels of students. This chart is usually introduced in kindergarten. This instructional activity basically consists of three parts. For example, the students are asked to identify what they previously KNOW about the lesson. Second, they would be lead to what they WANT to know about the lesson. Lastly, the students identify what they have LEARNED from the lesson. Through this activity the student trigger his stored knowledge for the lesson, he becomes caught up in the discussion and becomes more focused in learning the lesson (Allen, 2004). Another pre-instruction activity is to provide the key words and phrases relevant to the upcoming lesson. Providing these key words to the students before the lesson or even during the discussion can excite the student to encounter the vocabulary in the lesson. If the students have them early then they can use a simplified English or bilingual dictionary to learn the meanings and familiarize themselves with the words. This approach also helps students identify prior knowledge about the topic from their native languages. If the students are familiar with the there is a better chance of interest and recognition since they have some idea of the content. The students actively learn in using pre-instruction activities evading being a â€Å"passive learner† who memorizes all of the information. The teachers need to directly instruct and exhibit how to use the charts and graphs and how to manage the information. These tools can prove to be important for all students as review materials comes exam time, but most importantly to the ESL (English Second Language) and ELL (English Language Learners) students to be able to put their information together and understand how that information works together for them (O’Loughlin & Haynes, 1999). The result of the pre-instruction activities can remove much of the uneasiness and frustration of learning new concepts and lessons because students would feel that they are as competent as everyone in building their own prior knowledge. Visual Aids, Realia, Maps, Pictures, Multimedia Using these materials makes it easier for students to easily learned new concepts by seeing the relationships of concepts and concretes. Even if all the students are of differing English ability level they can all get the meaning of words represented by visuals. Using images and media also heightens the interest of students and creates a fun atmosphere for learning. Images, objects and body movements keep the students interested and focused, help them make connections and commit to memory language that they are learning. Films, videos, and audio cassettes with books allow students to visualize and make connections to what is being taught. For example, film-viewing prior to the discussion of lesson help students recalls more vividly the information from the film relating to the lesson (O’Loughlin & Haynes, 1999). â€Å"Realia is a term for any real, concrete object used in the classroom to create connections with vocabulary words, stimulate conversation, and build background knowledge† (Herrell, 2000). Schools organize to collect funds for realias that teachers and students can use. . Teachers can use models, photographs, illustrations, and artwork when the real object is inaccessible or is impractical. The use of realia can also be a model way to study different cultures included in a lesson. For example, in studying the eating habits of some culture a set eating utensils and kitchen appliances (chopsticks, a tortilla press, a tea set, a wok) can build vocabulary and increase comprehension. Another good example is the study of different clothing items from different cultures. (Herrell, 2000) It would also be helpful to label everything in classroom so that newcomers see the names of objects in the school environment. Incorporating posters, photos or graphs is another way to encourage comprehension and development in students as well. These items can encourage understanding through illustrating the concepts and meanings of the topics/words (Reiss, 2006). Multimedia can be used to teach parts of speech such as verbs, adjectives, etc. Multimedia clips such as films show the use of language in actual use exposing the conversational use of language to increase the student’s ability to use English in a conversation. Audio clips also helps students learned the correct pronunciations of letters and words. The learning outcome of this strategy is that a student is more likely to find the support and understanding in the lessons and the content that is being introduced. They are able to make the connection easier through the combined audio and visual exposure. Graphic representations, the use the words/phrases in pictures, videos, audio, etc., aid in the effort of reinforcing the verbal and the written word and encourage content comprehension of the students (Reiss, 2006). Cooperative Groups, Peer Coaching Cooperative learning can be successful for all students at all academic levels and learning styles. Cooperative learning involves student participation in small-group learning activities that promote positive interactions. Cooperative learning makes sense for teachers because all students are given frequent opportunities to speak and because a spirit of cooperation and friendship is fostered among classmates. (Cochran, 1989) Students benefit through a shared learning activity, from observing how their peers learn. Face-to-face verbal interactions is advantageous for English language learners because it promote communication that is natural and meaningful (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1994) Teachers take several roles in planning cooperative learning. First, teachers make pre-instructional decisions about grouping students and assigning appropriate tasks. Teachers have to be able to fully explain the academic tasks and the grouping structure and roles to students and then must observe and get involved when necessary. Finally, the teacher is also the one who is responsible for evaluating the group and individual performance as well as the effectiveness of each group’s work (Cohen, 1998). Teachers do have to spend time in planning for cooperative learning to work. But, as illustrated in the example, once cooperative learning is organized the activities can be done again and again in different settings and in different content areas (Yahya & Huie, 2002). Cooperative learning is valuable when students have an interesting thought through task such as a set of discussion questions about a story they just read, producing a mental map of the story, or making up a puppet show to highlight character traits. Cooperative learning groups or peer coaching promotes a positive outcome when everyone involved understands the underlying purpose of this method. These methods are effective and successful because students tend to listen to one another and motivate one another to learn (NWREL, 2003). The value of cooperative learning and peer coaching strategy is to effectively promote the transfer of group ideas to individual learning. Repeat and Rephrase The repeat and re-phrase technique works by emphasizing key words and phrases in the discussion. Repetition is a key part of learning. The more times information is repeated. It is more likely that information will be easily recalled. Repeating the statement or question and re-phrasing it can illuminate the discussion. This strategy also helps in the student’s deeper understanding of the lesson. Much repetition and paraphrasing is required in this strategy. The teacher’s key role is to highlight the ideas that have already been discussed and modify them to give the same meaning, but a new understanding of the same idea. Through this the teacher could help students see the connection and transformation of the old information to a new one. The repeat and re-phrasing method is successful for instructions or classroom discussions. When speaking, the teacher needs to make sure that they articulate clearly and slowly, not making unnatural sounds to distinguish between important words or phrases; but placing a natural emphasis on the key words. Repeating frequently and paraphrasing the important information ensures that the concepts are comprehended. (Dunlap, Weisman, 2006) For example while discussing the teacher can repeat the central ideas or elaborate them over an extended period of time, for the purposes of emphasizing them for their students or slowly rephrase them in simpler terms to be more understandable. In this strategy the teacher could ask a question or utter a statement â€Å"Lisa sits quietly while listening to the teacher†. The teacher raises a question to repeat the concept. â€Å"Can Lisa listen to the teacher if she’s noisy†? If the student does not understand, the teacher can ask the same question, but in a different form, â€Å"Can you listen to our discussion if everyone is noisy?† In repeating and re-phrasing, the goal is to enhance a student’s independence in understanding and comprehension. The use of repetition can be a consistent reminder of the information that has been introduced, making sure that the students pick up on the concepts. (O’Loughlin, Haynes 1999) Using this strategy enables the teacher to associate interrelated concepts by changing their structure into a sentence or question and further rephrase and repeat these but still arriving at the same answer. Music and Jazz Chants One of the most powerful English language learning strategies is the use of music and jazz chants because music is universal to all languages. Every culture sees music as a form of self expression. Jazz chants help non-native learners get the â€Å"feel† of American English. The student learns the stress, rhythm and intonation patterns by imitating them. It’s a very effective and pleasurable way to learn. Songs are often easier to remember than just plain words and sentences. Jazz chants stimulate and appeal to multiple senses of learning. They also use the rhythmic presentation of the natural language which is important to successfully speaking English (Tang & Loyet, 2004). Helping non-native speakers develop confidence in their pronunciation abilities requires that they have a good understanding of speech rhythms in English. These students need reading practice for fluency and pronunciation. Jazz chants and music are a fantastic way of practicing. This method also works for memorization. For example, it is much easier to memorize the English alphabet using the alphabet song learned in Kindergarten. Music is effective in memorizing long lists such as periodic tables, alphabets, numbers, etc. This method can be used to introduce long concepts without anxiety. Students remember information in the form of song, and sometimes tossing in a little dance or hand movement for fun. Teachers frequently use this activity as a method of memorizing information and pronunciation (Short, 1991). Adding a tune or rhythm to a poem, a verse or a series of regular words and sentences can make it an engaging way to learn to read and remember (Bridges, Wright, 2006). For example, a teacher could choose a song such as Ella Fitzgerald’s wonderful rendition of the classic â€Å"Blue Moon,† a song that is not only beautiful but also practical for its interesting lyrics and a clear singing style. First is to start creating a close exercise (i.e. fill-in-the-blank) and leave empty spaces for words that will challenge students to listen carefully. The teacher would need to play the song two or three times depending on the difficulty of the exercise or questions about vocabulary (e.g. â€Å"adore† not â€Å"a door.†) When the close exercise is complete, play the song again the students would sing along with it. The next activities may include a scrutiny of the lyrics on a literary or grammatical level or an open discussion about the historical significance behind the idea of the â€Å"Blue Moon,† or an introduction to the music (both literal and figurative) of Ella Fitzgerald may prove interesting to students. (Roberts, M. 2007). Most people have had a song that is always playing in his head every now and then. Jazz chants just do that. They play continuously in the students’ heads even after class ends. Students remember the lyrics of songs, more than likely, for a long time. Songs will help students to learn long string of words. Students are receptive using this method and this makes the information easy to acquire and retain. Students generally join eagerly in activities like jazz chants because of the unique and fun way of learning the lesson unaware that they are learning. The result of this strategy is longer memory retention of information for the English language learners. If a song is playing in their heads over and over again, information is retained and can be easily access by the teacher (O’Loughlin, J. & Haynes, J.1999). Conclusion These English language learner strategies are proven to effectively helps teachers facilitate learning and to efficiently retain language information to non-native learners. The methodology of carrying out these strategies would be very successful if they are done properly. The techniques that have been reviewed are essential to the success of an ELL classroom. However, there is no perfect strategy for every student or teacher. Teachers must carefully examine the needs of each student and each of their receptivity to learning new information. From there, the teacher would be able to generate a strategy that would be optimal for learning for all the students. These strategies are very helpful and best used simultaneously to expose students to different pathways to learning new information. There are many more strategies out there for teachers of ESL and ELL students. Teachers could also create their own strategies in delivering lesson plans. The teacher’s most important tasks is to foster interactivity by creating a learning atmosphere in the classroom and to uphold the value of respect for differences in language ability and culture. These strategies are effective because it is synchronized on how the brain process new information that is to build on prior knowledge, classical repetition of central ideas, and an abstract-concrete connection for visual aides. They are also fun and interactive such as multimedia, cooperative learning and music and jazz.   They help eliminate the anxiety of ELLs in learning a new language. They also become more receptive and interested in learning because these are fun and enjoyable References Allen, J. (2004). Tools for Teaching Content Literacy. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Retrieved on March 30, 2008 from Bridges, L. & Wright, A. (2006). Using jazz chants for bilingual/ESL students. Retrieved March 29, 2008 from Cohen, E.G. (1998). Making cooperative learning equitable. (Realizing a positive school climate.) Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved March 29, 2008 from Cochran, C. (1989). Strategies for involving LEP students in the all-English-medium classroom: A cooperative learning approach. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education. Retrieved March 29, 2008 from Herrell, A. L. (2000). Fifty Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Retrieved March 29, 2008 from Dunlap,C. Z. & Weisman, E. M. (2006). Helping English language learners succeed. Huntington Beach: Shell Educational Publishing. Johnson, D. W., Johnson R. T., & Holubec, E.J. (1986). Circles of learning: Cooperation in the classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book. Retrieved March 29, 2008 from NWREL. (2003). General principles for teaching ELL students. Retrieved March 29, 2008 from O’Loughlin, J. & Haynes, J. (1999, April). Strategies and activities for mainstream teaching. Tell Training Manual. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from Reiss, J. (2006). 102 Content strategies for english language learners: Teaching for academic success in Grades 3-12. Columbus, Ohio: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall. Roberts, M. (2007). Music really plays in ESL classes. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from Short, S (1991). Integrating language and content instruction: strategies and techniques. Tang, F., & Loyet, D. (2004). Celebrating twenty-five years of jazz chants. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Stony Brook University (n.d.). Tips for teaching ELL’s: Strategies for promoting success for the second language learner in grades K-12. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from – not in text Yahya, N. & Huie, K. (2002). Reaching english language learners through cooperative learning. The Internet TESL Journal, 8(3). Allen, J. (2004). Tools for Teaching Content Literacy. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Retrieved on March 30, 2008 from

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