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How common core hurts English language learners | The Progressive

How common core hurts English language learners | The Progressive | EDUCATION | Scoop.it
When I was growing up, my family spoke mostly Spanish, but everyone at my school spoke English. Since my mother prioritized academic success over cultural acclimation for me, I found myself slowly abandoning Spanish. Taking Spanish as an elective in middle- and high school helped me make technical sense of the written language, but by then I had abandoned my mother’s native tongue in full, uprooting a small sense of my position in my extended family. 

Bilingualism is an exercise in constant transition and preparation. In school, how one flips from one language to another ultimately determines an English language learner’s success.

Before the Common Core came into play in New York State, bilingual education was already fraught problems and peril. But the Common Core tests have only made things even harder. English language learners take their first English standardized language exam a year and a day after they matriculate. Experts say it takes four to five years to fully learn a new language. But in New York, after a year and a day, all bets are off. English language learners are given a battery of tests for reading, writing, listening, and speaking over a two-week period, in a season already packed with exams for math, science, social studies, and regular English. The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) is a strenuous exam on its own. Students listen to English narration and are asked to respond in written form. Students are also assessed individually for speaking the language and reading extended passages. It boggles the mind that with such an exam, this set of students also has to take the mainstream English test.

A typical eighth grade English language learner is subjected to one standardized test per week from early April through mid-June, all of them with multiple parts meted out across multiple days. Students of all backgrounds report confusing language on the standardized Common Core English and math exams.

With different levels of language attainment for all of our English language learners, teachers have to simultaneously prepare students to learn the language conversationally while teaching them to read for context and ideas like students who are native English speakers. These challenges existed before Common Core, but trying to implement a new set of standards exacerbates the disconnect between policy and actual classroom practice. The students who came in with strong language skills in their home language will adapt quickly to the English language, but what about those who didn’t? If the English teacher solely focuses on the Common Core, what do we say to students who barely pass the Common Core English test, but still can’t pass the NYSESLAT?

Do they speak English or not? Which exam do we believe?

What’s more: there seems to be little evidence that standards themselves actually improve achievement. Sonia Nieto, one of the leading experts in language, literacy, and culture in K-12 education, wrote in her latest book Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds, “Although the [Common Core] has the potential for raising expectations for student learning and for enhancing the quality of the curriculum, it comes with several troubling cautions.” One of those cautions Nieot cites comes from a 2012 study by Joshua Goodman at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Goodman found that changes to state standards over the past twenty years have had little, if any, impact on student achievement. “Little is known,” Goodman concluded, “about how the quality of written standards translates into improvements in curriculum, pedagogy, and student achievement.”

Perhaps the new standards are different. Based on my classroom experience, I can attest to the depth and seriousness of these standards in math and English. But what worries me as a teacher is the focus on letting the standards and policies drive the pedagogy of the classroom rather than creating an exchange between policymakers and practitioners.

Take the use of the term “developmentally inappropriate,” which is ubiquitous in the instructions to teachers that accompany the Common Core state standards. That phrase, “developmentally inappropriate,” aroused a certain skepticism in me from the beginning. Whenever people say, “A child shouldn’t be learning x at this time,” it reminds me of the teachers who still want to teach basic multiplication in eighth grade, to students who are clearly ready to move on to higher math. As an equity issue, we have to assure that students are learning more than arithmetic before they get into high school, where they have to make choices about the courses that will determine their horizons for years to come.

Of course, kids might be reluctant to take a course if they don’t feel prepared. 

The problem with setting limits based on what is deemed “developmentally inappropriate” is even thornier where bilingualism, poverty, and racism intersect. While we have 400 languages spoken in my school, more than 71 percent of the declared English Language Learners speak Spanish in some form. There used to be a time when our country could easily stereotype these Spanish-speaking students as low-income kids in urban schools, with few resources and no voice in the policy discussion. Now, as more Spanish speakers show up at rural schools’ doors, students, parents, and teachers are struggling to negotiate a new reality, while dealing with the constraints of the Common Core, the new materials, new policies, new standardized tests, and sometimes callous superintendents and governors who don’t have much patience or respect for teachers who work with English language learners. Many of the activists on the front lines, fighting back against the corporate business model of education happen to be the bilingual educators who understand the needs of their students.

California has the largest number of English language learners in the country, with more than 1 million students who speak a second language. A whopping 84 percent of these students speak Spanish, but significant numbers also speak Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Arabic. How do policymakers look at this data and allow for mass school closures, the layoffs of thousands upon thousands of educators, and a sink-or-swim, test-driven system of education? How do they put up with class sizes that have ballooned as high as forty-five in the very schools where our students need the most support? iPads and new apps won’t solve these problems, and neither will a new set of standards airdropped from on high.

The term "developmentally inappropriate rings true to many educators. But it's not because students can't learn. It’s because of government officials who refuse to develop an appropriate learning environment for our students.

Jose Luis Vilson is a math teacher in the Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood of New York and the author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative of Race, Class and the Future of Education. 

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Paige Paul's curator insight, September 15, 2015 8:33 PM

Topic 2: I think that this is an interesting insight criticism of the Common Core, but much more so of the environment of high stakes testing that continues to permeate the American educational system.  

Bryan Kay's curator insight, October 22, 2015 8:19 PM

I hope this article provides insight on local, state, and federal mandates in education.

 

Common core seems to be here to stay and it is up to educators to stop making excuses. As a leader in a future school I want to empower teachers to reach higher and trust that their students can make it there. Though it may be difficult, our students can meet the high expectations of the common core standards.

Angela K. Adams's curator insight, October 25, 2015 12:20 PM

Student issues - I chose this resource because we have several ELL students at our school that I know struggle with common core.  I hope to share this with our administrative team to provide them with support as to how we can help our ELL students succeed with our common core curriculum.

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iPads in schools: The right way to do it | Macworld

iPads in schools: The right way to do it | Macworld | EDUCATION | Scoop.it
The Los Angeles public school district's troubled iPad rollout has been billed as a security fail, but experienced educators say that locking down iPads isn't the answer.

Via John Evans, Norma Ellis
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when iPads are locked down it will mean there is no use of ICT.  It cannot be locked down. ICT  is the best tool for making our education better. children are interested on the technology, so when we bring it in the classroom, they will also be interested on learning. it also important in creating effective learning, help teachers to provide more explanations of the content.

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19 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Make Your Life Easier

19 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Make Your Life Easier | EDUCATION | Scoop.it

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technology is the way to the ongoing easy life

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Learning technique: writing - College of English Malta

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A step in the right direction - Regional | The Star Online

A step in the right direction - Regional | The Star Online | EDUCATION | Scoop.it
THE Philippines is recognised globally as one of the largest English-speaking nations, with the majority of its population having at least some degree of fluency in the language. English has always been one of the country’s official languages, and is spoken by more than 14 million Filipinos. It is the language of commerce and law, as well as the primary medium of instruction in education.

Proficiency in the language is also one of the Philippines’ strengths, which has helped drive the economy and even made it the top voice outsourcing destination in the world, surpassing India in 2012. The influx of foreign learners of English is also on the rise due to the relatively more affordable but quality English as a Second Language (ESL) programmes being offered locally.

However, at a recent roundtable organised by British Council Philippines, key stakeholders from the government, academe, private, and non-government sectors acknowledged that even if the country was doing fine in terms of English competency, concerns on how much of a competitive advantage it still is here were raised.

The stakeholders agreed that the country needs to step up its efforts in improving the teaching and learning of English, developing it as a vital skill of the workforce.

This is an initiative that can potentially strengthen the Philippines’ distinct advantage in this part of the world, particularly with the upcoming Asean economic integration.

Enhancing the teaching of English in the Philippines presents opportunities for the country in the area of tourism.

“To maintain the Philippines’ strength as a major ESL destination, we need to address the gap in qualified ESL teachers and the issues around ensuring the quality of ESL schools. This also includes exploring how we can extend incentives to ESL schools and teachers,” Renee Marie Reyes, the chief of the ESL Market Development Group under the Department of Tourism, said at the roundtable. The DOT is encouraging local ESL schools to offer structured tour packages to ESL learners, the majority of whom come from South Korea, China, Russia and Japan, by incorporating English-learning activities in the travel experience.

Roundtable participants from the government sector underscored the need for an interagency government body to regulate and support ESL provision in the country in order to further capitalise on its economic potential.

Representatives of the academe focused on teacher training and professional development, highlighting the need for skills in differentiated instruction, materials development and knowledge sharing.

According to its dean, Rosario Alonzo, the University of the Philippines College of Education ensures this by emphasising to its students that English is a skill to be used for communication.

Education students focus on learner-centred teaching, and are taught to ask learners to do meaningful tasks using English.

In the same way, the Department of Education focuses on the needs of learners and ensures that they learn the English language holistically, as specified under the K-to-12 basic education framework.

There is also a greater imperative to further build on the English skills of the labour force, particularly of those in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

“The demand for BPO services from the Philippines requires more than 1.3 million employees by 2016, which means that 300,000 more new employees need to be hired by next year,” said Zoe Diaz de Rivera, master trainer of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap).

Private-sector representatives suggested corporate social responsibility programmes to support teacher development, particularly in English-language proficiency in teaching other subjects.

They also recommended collaboration between the government and the private sector to address language proficiency in teachers and students in the outlying communities.

Members of international and development organisations recognised the same gaps and agreed with the recommendations of the other sectors. In addition, they proposed a platform for information sharing and communication among stakeholders to avoid duplicating initiatives.

These statements were made amid the decline of the quality of English in the Philippines and the growing number of unfilled jobs in various industries that require certain levels of English communication skills. Ibpap statistics show that today, only 8-10 persons are hired for every 100 applicants in the IT-BPO sector.

Nicholas Thomas, country director of British Council Philippines, said developing a wider knowledge of the English language is one of its founding purposes.

“Part of our work is to share best practice in the teaching and learning of English with partner countries all over the world,” Thomas said, adding: “English has a distinctive place in the Philippine education system, and retaining high standards of English is critically important for the country’s economy and future development. We look forward to working with partners on more initiatives to support the teaching and learning of English here.” — Philippine Daily Inquirer / ANN

Mike Cabigon is the manager of English for Education Systems of British Council Philippines.

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Why It's Time To Put Students In The Driver's Seat

Why It's Time To Put Students In The Driver's Seat | EDUCATION | Scoop.it
Think about how you or the people you work with approach the creation of a blended learning lesson plan. The first steps of coming up with and flushing out your initial idea. Then, scouring the web to find safe, factually accurate sites that are not blocked by your school filters and checking the fine print …

 

This method of teaching does require a certain amount of bravery. There is a very real chance that when a student asks you a question (How do I add media? How do I change the font? How do I import pictures? etc. etc.) you will have to say the dreaded “I don’t know”. But the neat thing is, your students are ok with this. You’re all learning as you go. More often than not another child in the class will be using the same site or will have at least used it before. If a classmate knows the answer, they can step into the role of teacher – from which much confidence is gained and leadership skills are learned.

 

Even the most reserved kid really enjoys teaching their teacher a trick or two. If no one knows the answer, they can collaborate to find the solution; an activity that provides important life skills with many real-world applications. All while leaving the initiative, process development and ownership of the learning itself right where it belongs, in the hands of the learners.

 

Gust MEES: I started with it in 2002 already and was a pioneer in my country, BUT I got BEST results! Make sure to work TOGETHER as a TEAM with the students, learners, create ALSO some groups where the BEST work together with the weakest. YOU will love it later and YOU will miss it as it gives YOU a direct feedback of WHAT THEY learned and YOU adjust on demand and necessity... WHEN the BEST feel boring, give THEM a special task to motivate THEM ;) ===> Adjust <===.

 

Concerning the questions from the students, please check my advice here:

 

http://gustmees.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/practice-better-ways-to-say-i-dont-know-in-the-classroom/

 

http://gustmees.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/work-sheet-teachers-best-practiceshowto/

 


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Ivon Prefontaine's comment, May 28, 2014 6:57 PM
Thank you Gust.
Gust MEES's comment, May 28, 2014 7:18 PM
@Ivon Prefontaine I will take it is a priority to create THAT blog, stay tuned, please ;)
Alan Jordan's curator insight, April 3, 4:13 PM

I am not sure what is being suggested is putting students in charge. It is more about a complicated conversation between teachers and students about the subject matter. There is an in-between space where teachers and students meet.

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Teaching methods, learning styles essay - due today...

this is my final term paper...and its due today. i was wondering if someone could look over it and make corrections and give me fe Teaching methods, learning styles essay - due today...
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Teaching methods, learning styles essay
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ENGLISH

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ESSAY

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