English As A Second Language Learner

1730 words - 7 pages

April 15, 2011

Imagine, you are sitting in a classroom looking at the teacher watching his or her mouth move but you have no idea what is being said. You try to piece together little words or phrases here and there but cannot come up with the right idea on your own. This is the case for many English Language Learners within classrooms today; the only difference is many do not even know enough English to piece together a phrase leaving them completely clueless. The controversial discussion of English Language Learners and their education can become quite heated. There is much discussion on these students and countless action plans, that we tend to forget this issue cannot only be talked ...view middle of the document...

In Robert Slavin and Alan Cheung’s article on “Language of Reading Instruction for English Language Learners”, immersion strategies say, “English language learners are expected to learn in English from the beginning, and their native language plays little or no role in daily reading lessons… Immersion may involve placing English language learners immediately in classes containing English monolingual children, or it may involve teaching ELL’s in a separate class for some time until the children are ready to be mainstreamed” (Slavin & Cheung 250). In this approach, students are taught in English; their native language takes a back seat in order to become strong English speakers. Learning English while speaking another language can slow the progress when learning the language. The less time students spend speaking their native language, the more successful this approach will be to their success in learning English.
By immerging the ELL’s in the classroom, they are able to further their education in the English language and decrease their chances of losing the little knowledge they have about the language to begin with. In another article titled, “The Case for Structured English Immersion”, by Kevin Clark, a writer for Educational Leadership, mentions that these immersion programs have the potential to improve the “English language development and linguistic preparation for grade level content…ELL students reach an intermediate level of English competence after a few years- and then stop making progress… they lag in their ability to apply the rules, structures, and specialized vocabularies of English necessary for grade level work” (Clark 43). ELL students are able to continue and learn the basics of the English language at each grade level so they are learning the English grammar piece as well as being taught in the language.
It can be argued that teaching the ELL students entirely in English and not using their native language to help guide them will create a problem; putting them behind other students of their grade level and ultimately setting the student back further grade level wise in the future. Often times, in English Immersion, students are corrected from their teachers in English instead of correcting themselves which, “deny the speaker the opportunity to do self-repair, probably an important learning activity… instruction that emphasizes self-repair in this way was more likely to improve learners; ability to monitor their own target language speech” (Lyster 2). Although immersing students into an English speaking classroom may in some cases benefit the student, it cannot be ignored that total instruction in English is harmful to the students learning. As with any student, when a teacher catches them making a mistake, they are corrected; with ELLs however, when they make a mistake, they cannot be held to that same standard due to their little knowledge of the English language to begin with. If they...

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