Consistently Applying Basic Practices to Ensure Opportunities for Students’ Success
Did you know that approximately 18.5 percent of students at SHS have been in the English Language Development (ELD) program? In a class of 33, for example, there will be an average of six students who have a background in a language other than English.
To be more specific, there are about 50 students at SHS who are actively participating in ELD, and another 200 students who have been in the program during some period of their educational history, part of whom are still being monitored for their academic progress.
One might ask why this matters and discover that the short answer is “student access and academic success.” While, when ELD students meet certain English language proficiency requirements it results in their being declared “advanced” (and then exited from ELD), it is important to recognize that their achievement status is relative to those standards that have been determined for the program. It does not necessarily mean that students have mastered the English language, or that they even have a handle on the basic lexicon of a given subject area.
Initially, what that means for content area teachers is that, in order to ensure opportunities for these students’ success, we must consistently apply some basic practices. That is, we need to 1) evaluate what they do and do not know; 2) front load vocabulary; 3) assess vocabulary acquisition; 4) preview textbooks (i.e., discuss the presentation of textual information and how the photographs, illustrations, graphs, etc. relate to the topic at hand); and for those who might need it, 5) “walk through” any examples/sample problems in order to be certain that a) they are understood, and b) they are congruent with the subsequent problems students are asked to complete; and 6) we must be sure that our directions are clear and are clearly understood.
Academic success for students with a background of more than one language involves our patiently practicing some basics that will benefit all students.
While there is much to say on this subject, I think that’s plenty for now. Thank you for following along.
In the meantime, please know that both SHS ELD staff and district ELD staff are happy to lend assistance with issues pertaining to our current and former ELD students.
Postscript: For some language humor – follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxUm-2x-2dM