ELL Instruction in the United States Presented by John Mundahl, United States Peace Corps Volunteer to Romania. September 7th, 2012
Recent Immigration to the United States 30 million immigrants have come to the United States in the last 30 years, that’s 1million a year. 1.2 million Romanians. First settled in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. (20,000) Founded St. Mary’s the first Romanian orthodox church, 4 Romanian newspapers. Very successful. ½ returned to Romania. In 2006, the United States accepted more legal immigrants than all than all the other countries of the world combined.
Number of ELL Students in the United States We have 7,000,000 ELL students in our schools now. The number has tripled in the last decade. .. ELL students are our fastest-growing student population. Since 1990, ELL numbers have increased 95%, while traditional student growth has increased only 12%... One child in four speaks a language other than English at home in the United States now… In another 20 years ELL students will make up 40% of our student body…
Why is This Important? It forces us to keep exploring new methodologies. We are always trying to find better ways to teach English to our ELL students.
The Three Basic Approaches to ELL Education in the United States English immersion:Instruction is entirely in English. English as a second language:Typically, classes are comprised of students who speak many different languages but are not fluent in English. They may attend classes for only a period a day, to work strictly on English skills, or attend for a full day and focus both on academics and English. Bilingual education:Instruction for some subjects is in the students’ native language but a certain amount of each day is spent on developing English skills. Classes are made up of students who share the same native language.
A Look at Popular Methodology Young children ages 4,5,6,7 Teachers are well trained in child development. Piaget, Maria Montessori, Reggio Emilia.
How Do Children Best Learn? Piaget: “Children learn through play, by contacting and interacting with their environment.”
How Do Children Best Learn? Maria Montessori: de-centered the role of the teacher. Allowed children to interact with their environment, yet she structured the activities in such a way that her learning goals were achieved.
How Do Children Best Learn? Reggio Emilia approach:similar to Montessori methods. However, it is focused primarily on pre-school (ages 4,5). Parental involvement is very important.
Tips for Teaching English to Young Children 1. Games, play, stories, movement and song form the core of EFL methodology for young children, not rote learning. 2. English sessions should be fun and interesting, concentrating on concepts the children already understand in their mother tongue. In this way, the child is not learning two things at once, a new concept and a new language, but is simply learning the English word for a concept they already understand (colors, names of animals, classroom vocabulary, body parts and simple commands, for example). 3. Children are more likely to engage in learning when presented with physical activity. An example of activity-based learning, sometimes called Total Physical Response, would be to ask children to make the shape of a letter with their body.
Tips for Teaching English to Young Children 4. Children need a reason to speak English. You may want to introduce puppets or animals, for example, who only speak English. Or you may want to create a corner of your room where only English is spoken, like a small grocery store, or small town, or a conductor on a toy train who only speaks English. 5. Children are excitable. Vary your activities from active to calm. English story time offers a quiet break in the classroom routine for students to hear English pronunciation and to respond to print. Books with repeated phrases or rhyming patterns that the can be memorized are especially important. (Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin). 6. Children have short attention spans. Change activities often and have everything you need for each activity. Plan for more than you think you will need. Have 2 or 3 other activities ready to use if the children get restless.
Middle School and High School ELL instruction is typically divided into Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced and each course is given a name and number: ESL 101. All teachers have a book and access to the internet. Some follow the book closely. Others design their own lessons. Classes are interactive, student-centered, often still project based. The best teachers are entertaining and teach the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing using the communicative approach. Communicate approach: (used more with ESL, not EFL) 1. The focus is on meaningful communication, not structure. Use, not usage. 2. Students are given tasks to accomplish using language, instead of studying the language. 3. The syllabus is on functional development (asking directions, asking questions) instead of structural development (past tense, adverbs, nouns). 4. Less emphasis on error correction as communication is more important than accuracy. 5. The class becomes more student-centered as students accomplish tasks with other students (in small groups) rather than teacher-directed rote learning.
Content-Based Instruction CBI focuses on learning English and at the same time using English to learn about mathematics, science, social studies, or other topics of interest. It emphasizes using English to learn about something rather than studying English only for its grammar and syntax. This could be anything that interests the students from an interesting science topic to their favorite pop star or even a topical news story or film.
Content Based Instruction The idea is to develop the knowledge base of the students, while they also continue to progressively learn English… This is thought to be a more interesting way to learn English, as it connects English acquisition to the personal lives of your students…
Content Based Instruction However, each lesson also has a language goal. The language goal should be clearly stated in the lesson plan and in Romania it should be tied to the national curriculum. Example: Subject Matter: The Life of Michael Jackson Language Goal: Past Tense
The Importance of Parental Involvement In study after study, success in school has been tied to active parental involvement. When parents are engaged, interested and supportive in their child's learning, the child is more likely to succeed. Parental involvement is more important to student success, at every grade level, than family income or education.
The Importance of Parental Involvement At the beginning of the year, we (the school or the classroom teacher) send a letter to the parents welcoming them into the school and the classroom. Provide a list of everything the child needs to start school. Stress the importance of school attendance and arriving on time.School attendance is the single most important factor in a student’s success at school. Encourage parents to read to their children at home, to talk to their children about school and to set high educational standards in the home. This means reasonable T.V time, reasonable computer and video game time and reasonable time with friends. Provide families with a list of required mastery skills for the class. Encourage parents to contact school with any questions or concerns. Compile a wish list of things teacher might need in classroom.
The Importance of Parental Involvement Stay connected to your parents throughout the year. Communicate to them in simple language, avoiding educational "jargon." Be sure your first contact with parents is a positive one. Train the office staff to be friendly with parents. Invite parents and grandparents to present talks or demonstrations about their specialized knowledge or skills. Sponsor family events: a Family Day, a Grandparents Day, a Lunch with Your Child Day.
Suggestions for Making TEFL Better in Romania Use the democratic process to advocate for higher teacher salaries, more books and learning materials for students, safer work conditions and more respect for teachers. Look at schools that are doing well and replicate their ideas or programs. Provide teachers with current methodology. Hands on, student-centered learning where the teacher is actively engaged with the students is effective. Consider a parent involvement program. Support younger teachers. Establish a mentor program in each school. Encourage teachers to teach students, not curriculcum. The danger with a national curriculum is that teachers feel pressured to rush through the curriculum. Many students are left behind.
How Can the Peace Corps Help You? We are a free resource here at the invitation of the Romanian government. The program is closing, however, July, 2013. We are available as TEFL teachers mostly in smaller villages, but we also give workshops, speak to groups on cultural topics and write materials. Preparatory Grade Curriculum Resource Guide for English 1. How small children best learn. 2. How small children learn a second language. 3. 27 tips for teaching small children. 4. 67 websites with free learning materials and free activities. 5. 3 sample lessons
How Can the Peace Corps Help You? 12 Tips for Excellent Teaching 1. The Many Roles of the Teacher 2. The Lesson Plan 3. How to Arrange Your Desks 4. Teaching Small Children 5. Preparing for Small Group Work 6. Classroom Management for Older Students 7. How to Motivate Your Students 8. Decorating Your Classroom on a Budget 9. Preparing Your Students for the Internet 10. Understanding Plagiarism 11. The Importance of Parental Involvement 12. Parental Involvement for Directors
Conclusion 2 billion people speak English now. Another 2 billion are learning it. 80% of the world’s electronically stored information (on the internet) is in English. 80-90% of papers in scientific journals are written in English. Because of globalization and technology we are world citizens---the Internet, travel, study abroad, international business, tourism--English is the language of choice. It is the world lingua franca---the common language of choice when two speakers of other languages get together. It’s important that Romanian students continue to study English and have a chance to speak it.
Bucharest Everyone here speaks English!!! Thank you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, I would like a copy of the Preparatory Grade Curriculum Resource Guide for English ___________. Yes, I would like a copy of the Tips for Excellent Teaching__________. Yes, I would like a copy of the Peace Corps volunteers Recommendations for Improving TEFL in Romania________________. Name_____________________________________ Town_____________________________________ Email______________________________________