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Showing posts from April, 2017

Understanding the Language Acquisition Process: The First Step in Understanding the Needs of ELs

What is the Language Acquisition Process? When exploring the needs of English Language Learners, we must review the development of language acquisition. Students are expected to learn two types of language, conversational language and academic language. “The distinction between academic and conversational proficiency was first articulated by Jim Cummins, who coined the terms basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) years ago and has written extensively about them…” (as cited in Goldenberg, 2010). Conversational language is informal and acquired more easily than academic language. Academic language is the language used in textbooks, writing, and academic conversations. Students can acquire conversational language in a couple of years, but take much longer to master academic language. “Research in language acquisition supports the hypothesis that we all acquire language the same way-by understanding messages” (Krashen &…

Understanding the Benefits of a Student's Home Language- as shared in EdWeek Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo

This post was originally posted in Education Week, Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo, 1/31/17

Question: What is the role, if any, of an ELL student's home language in the classroom?

“It is hard to argue that we are teaching the whole child when school policy dictates that students leave their language and culture at the schoolhouse door” (Cummins, 2005)
The number of English Learners has dramatically increased over the last two decades. Current research indicates an extraordinary boom in our English learner student population in the United States. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 4.5 million English learners are enrolled in public schools across the U.S. (CDE, 2016). The growth is evident across the nation, but especially in California where “…one of every four students is an English learner” (Goldenberg, 2010). For many educators, English language learners ARE the majority student population in our schools. Clearly, educators have the responsibility of addressing …

Resisting an Oppressive Banking Concept of Education for SOC: Evolving and Becoming

Research and history indicate that English learners are part of a group that has been culturally marginalized and economically disenfranchised. “For too long, the histories, experiences, cultures, and languages of students of color have been devalued, misinterpreted, or omitted within the formal educational setting” (Delgado-Bernal, 2002).  English learners have dealt and continue to deal with issues of race, culture, and language in our schools.  Those issues negatively affect the overall learning experiences of English learners and many other students of color. As an Educational leader, reading Freire's (Freire, 2010) work on oppression was a transformational experience. Freire's ideas about the banking concept of education as an instrument of oppression deeply resonated with me.  This concept critiques the student-teacher relationship as narrative, with the teacher feeding the students facts and “sonority of words’ that lack the power to educate or transform (p. 71).  When …