Sunday, October 21, 2012

Socio-cultural aspects of Schooling for EL's

There are a couple strategies that I would like to try as a teacher of EL's, one that I picked up from the readings, and the other that I was thinking about when speaking with an EL from my class. The first strategy I would use is peer tutoring. In the Little article, "Journey Towards Belonging," Little talks about an experience she had as a young student when she was routinely called into the office to help translate when new Chinese immigrants were registered into the school. Although she sees this as a negative, mainly because her Chinese was not strong and it was often different versions of Chinese, this got me thinking that this could actually be used as somewhat of a positive. I think it would be effective to have a program where high achieving EL's who are at the advanced or early advanced stage, could help out in the classrooms where there are beginning or early intermediate schools. This would have two benefits in my opinion; the first benefit is that it would be a big help to the struggling EL's, but also would help the advanced EL's both in their language skills and content skills. There could even be a mentor program where kids when they are reclassified would have the option of helping out a struggling EL. I feel like this would be helpful because EL's would have someone to talk to who knows what they have gone through, and knows what it takes to be reclassified.

My second strategy is that every EL be told what exactly it will take for them to be reclassified. I spoke with a student this week who has achieved very high scores on her CELDT tests for the last five years, and has no idea why she remains an EL. After doing some digging myself I found out that she had a couple bad CST tests, which have kept her from being reclassified. When I told her that was the reason, she was surprised because she had no idea the CST's were even linked to reclassification. This leads me to believe that there is a lack of communication between the staff and EL's on how they could get out of the program, There needs to be a system where every EL should know exactly why things are the way they are. This actually could be one thing that the mentor program above could help fix.

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