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What Strategies Are Best for Teaching ESL Students to Read?

Learn more about teaching ESL on Reading Horizons ESL Blog: http://www.readinghorizons.com/international/blog/
Lena Richie's insight:

This informational video is about top down and bottom up strategies that can be utilized for teaching ESL students to read basic English. Using both strategies together becomes "interactive reading", which is beneficial for students who find these strategies effective. The top down strategy is guessing words and phrases from known contexts in the student's personal experiences. This could be very effective with ESL students because they can bring information and experiences from their native country and apply it to what they are learning in English classrooms. The bottom up strategy is taking individual letters and seeing how the words are formed, and how those words create phrases and sentences that can eventually be strung together to create pieces of text. This can also be related to the child's native language, especially if that native language utilizes a  lot of characters like the English language does. You can have the child explain how words are formed in their language, and then you can relate that to how the words are formed in English. Both of these strategies can be effective in teaching ESL students how to read and speak English, but it is important for the teacher to know what student they are working with and recognize which strategy, if any, are effective in teaching that particular student. They are not going to learn if they can't connect or learn in the style they are being taught in. It is the teacher's job to recognize this based on their observation of the student, or by asking the student what they prefer themselves. 

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Inclusion or Exclusion? The ESL Education Debate | PublicSchoolReview.com

Inclusion or Exclusion?  The ESL Education Debate | PublicSchoolReview.com | ESL Students | Scoop.it
Learn about the current debate facing ESL education. Specifically, should ESL students be completly immersed in full-English classrooms, or should they receive targeted support in learning the English language?
Lena Richie's insight:

This debate is on whether ESL students should be immersed in English classes with fluent English speakers or not. On one side of the debate are people that believe that students of all language backgrounds are still in a constructive learning environment when put together in the same English class, so this can't be a bad thing. The other side believes that ESL students usually need additional resources and time to understand the complexity of a completely foreign language. Also, with budget cuts creating less jobs and more changes in schools, the concern is that ESL students will get left behind when their programs are underfunded or don't have the proper teachers or resources to continue. Some schools that have "full inclusion" classrooms have lessons that are only offered in English. This is backed by the idea that full immersion into the language is better for teaching the language to a student. I agree with the other half of the debate that says students learn fluency faster if they are supported through ESL programs. I think students would feel lost and confused if they were only taking classes in a language that didn't make any sense to them. The only aspect of the separation that I would be concerned with that is mentioned in the debate is the idea that splitting fluent English speakers and ESL children creates a clear separation between the two in the minds of the teachers and children. The teachers begin to doubt the abilities of the ESL students because they assume they can't handle the level of the English class. Students see segregation beginning because some of the kids in their school are different and have to take different classes than them. This can be detrimental to the learning process of the students because they can lose self confidence in their abilities to be successful. 

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ESL learners worry CLC changes will impede their goals - Lake County News-Sun

ESL learners worry CLC changes will impede their goals - Lake County News-Sun | ESL Students | Scoop.it
The 80 College of Lake County students who signed a petition, including some who wrote heartfelt letters protesting planned cuts to English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at the Lakeshore campus in Waukegan, may be glad to hear much of the...
Lena Richie's insight:

One of the main concerns for ESL students is paying for English classes. Since many of the students in ESL are new to the United States, they are just getting jobs and beginning to assimilate into the culture. Therefore, they need to be able to take the classes for free in order to get a better job and earn a living. It is well known among the students that knowing English is required to do well in the United States, and that "if you can't speak English here, you don't know anything." This can be extremely difficult to deal with if you have to pay for classes, which is why students signed a petition to keep the classes free. The other concern is that once students do well enough in the lower classes to place out of them, they need to take higher level classes which cost money. Overall, the concern about making money and learning English is cyclical for these students, because they need to learn English to make money, but if they don't have enough money they potentially can't learn English. I think the schools need to make classes as accessible as possible for these students because if they are motivated to work hard and join the American work force, they should be able to do so. If someone can provide them with the chance to succeed here, they should because everyone deserves to have a good life if they are working hard to achieve it. I would want someone to help me, so why wouldn't I help them?

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Hadley ESL students become published authors through Research Labs program | Suburban Life Media

Hadley ESL students become published authors through Research Labs program | Suburban Life Media | ESL Students | Scoop.it
Lena Richie's insight:

This article is about three students who, through the American Reading Company, published their own books. They wrote nonficiton books on a topic of their choice through their ESOL program, and these books won them an award through the American Reading Company. Obviously I was excited to hear that these students won this honor, but what was more important was that their stories were judged using the same criteria as all other students. I feel like this is a big step in the education system because a lot of the time there is a clear distinction made between ESOL and native English speaking students in schools. This creates a difference in standards for the two groups, because teachers expect different levels from the two groups of students. The reality is that each student learns at a different pace, and by grouping all ESOL students into one group and all English speaking students into another isn't fair to any of the students or their levels of ability. I also really liked the assignment they were given, to write about a topic they are interested in. This allows for the voice of the student to really come out in the story. It doesn't matter that English isn't their first language. The fact that they are passionate about something and want to write about it mean their education is working for them. 

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tennesee-esl-resource-center-strategies-for-esl-teachers.pdf

Lena Richie's insight:

This file provides strategies for ESL teachers to use in their classrooms. This involves overall guidelines as well as specific descriptions of topics to cover with students. This is only one set of standards for Tennessee so it isn't a universally accepted system, but they cover a lot of the topics that I think should be covered in an ESL classroom. There is also a chart that breaks the learning process up into four stages, which I think would be really helpful as an ESL teacher in order to know the benchmarks students need to meet. Lastly, there are multiple resources given that can be used to help teachers do well as ESL instructors. I think this set of standards is extremely useful for ESL teachers in the future because it is a clear set of guidelines on what to do in an ESL classroom. Having guidelines for teachers is important because otherwise it can be unclear what is expected. Using these guidelines, a teacher can interpret and change the way they teach in whatever way fits with the students and their needs. 

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Lessons students love to learn

Lessons students love to learn | ESL Students | Scoop.it
The Journey Manawatu exhibition room at Te Manawa has been given a new lease of life - helping to create a better future for people while still displaying the past.
Lena Richie's insight:

A lot of my articles are about students of all ages who have immigrated to the United States and want to learn English. This is a growing concern in the U.S., which is highlighted in this article. This class had to find a bigger classroom in order to accomodate all of the people who want to learn English. The program focuses on teaching English as well as American concepts such as "grocery shopping in a supermarket or using eftpos." The best part of this program is that the teachers ask the students what they want to learn instead of deciding what they need to learn. I think this is important in any classroom, but especially a classroom of immigrants. It is important to try not to strip their identity and culture from them when they come to America. The key is to teach them what they want and feel they need to know to live here successfully, so they can create the life they want in this country. Lessons in English shouldn't be about teaching them what they must do and how they must be as an American, but giving them the tools to be successful in this country. 

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Halethorpe Elementary bridges language gap at ESOL info session

Halethorpe Elementary bridges language gap at ESOL info session | ESL Students | Scoop.it
More than 35 people gathered in the library at Halethorpe Elementary Thursday to participate in a pseudo back-to-school night event for parents and family members of the school’s Burmese student population...
Lena Richie's insight:

This article is about a back to school night where parents of ESOL students can learn about the expectations of their children in the schools in their native languages. For some parents, a lot of the information is completely different from the schooling they know, so it becomes the teacher's responsibility to teach the parents what they need to know about American education. The key for the teachers is to create a feeling of a "support base" for the ESOL parents, because they are just coming to a new country where they don't know a lot about the culture or the environment, and having people to help them is important. Although this article isn't directly about ESOL students, I think it is important to recognize the effect these teachers are having on ESOL families. By providing a bilingual back to school night for parents of ESOL students, these schools are showing that they want to help and support the ESOL students and their families in their transition into American life. If the parents feel supported by the school, then they will be able to be supportive for their child. Education doesn't stop when the child leaves the classroom, and for ESOL students who are percieved as being behind in American schools, this support is crucial for them to feel comfortable in their new learning environment. More schools should be like Halethorpe, because providing help for ESOL parents is the first step to bridging the gap between ESOL families and American schools. 

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