Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On Teaching English-Language Learners (ELLs)

On Teaching English-Language Learners (ELLs): No matter what subject a teacher teaches, he or she is also a teacher of language. Nationwide, it's estimated that about 10 percent of American public school students are ELLs. But in states like California and Texas, the percentage is closer to 20. These percentages are only expected to grow as the years progress. Thus, it's becoming increasingly imperative that American educators receive some form of ELL training. Whether that training involves educational linguistics or cultural history, American teachers ought to be prepared for having language-minority students in their classrooms. For decades, a majority of American educators viewed ELLs as having "personal deficiencies," which resulted in lowered academic expectations. This viewpoint has only been complicated by the growth of standardization policies (Common Core, PARCC, etc.), which place exceedingly intense pressures on language-minority students. Yet with the adoption of ELL training as part of educator licensing, there's hope that the ELL experience in American public schools will be enhanced in the years to come.

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