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Aproaches for Beginning SEI

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					Approaches for Beginning SEI 1 Running head: APPROACHES FOR BEGINNING SEI

Approaches for Beginning SEI Jacklyn Roberts Grand Canyon University ESL 523 April 19, 2009

Approaches for Beginning SEI 2 Approaches for Beginning SEI Many educators around the nation have encountered teaching English Language Learners at least once in their careers. Successful teachers search for strategies and approaches for learning to enhance ELL’s language development and learning of content. Research has enlightened educators regarding strategies that can help ELL’s be successful in school and in society. English Language Learners enter American schools at different ability levels as well as confident levels. It is often difficult for students to enter schools when they do not understand the language or culture. It is the teacher’s responsibility to assess the ability level and confidence level of each student and find approaches that meet their individual needs. Students beginning to learn English need certain types of approaches and strategies that help them relax and feel confident to learn. One effective strategy used with many beginning ELL’s is the Total Physical Response approach to learning. According to Chris Gunn (2009) TPR is a teaching technique in which learners respond to language input with body language. The TPR approach was initiated by James Asher which discovered that children listen and respond to gestures before they speak. An example of this approach includes the teacher acting out commands or instructions. The benefits to using this approach include decreased anxiety due to the absence of stress to have to speak and the stimulation of right brain motor skills (Gunn, 2009). Disadvantages to this approach include the lack of effectiveness when dealing with complex concepts and the inability to have a written grade for the student (Gunn, 2009). This approach could be used in my third grade classroom with my ELL students to help lower their anxiety levels and make them feel more comfortable. Acting out directions or acting out stories are ways to incorporate this approach into the classroom.

Approaches for Beginning SEI 3 According to Kenneth Beare (2009) the use of contextual clues is one of the most influential factors for improving ELL’s reading skills. When students realize that they do not have to know every word but have a general idea of what is written to understand, anxiety decreases. This approach is used by deduction (What does the sentence concern?), part of speech (What part of speech is the unknown word?) and chunking (What do the words around the unknown word tell you?) (Beare, 2009). This approach is effective with English Language Learners due to helping students cope with increasingly difficult tasks by giving them ways to figure out meaning as well as rapidly increasing their vocabulary base (Bear, 2009). Potential disadvantages to this approach includes the chance that students will get frustrated if they cannot grasp meaning after trying to use this approach and lose confidence in themselves. This approach does not always work because there is simply not enough information surrounding an unknown word sometimes. I use this approach often in class with my ELL students as well as my native English speaking students to help determine the meaning of unknown words. This is an EOG strategy that helps all students figure out words they do not understand when taking the reading end of grade test. Learning how to effectively approach the silent period is essential when teaching a student that does not know or knows very little English. According to Haynes (2005) the majority of ELL students go through a “silent phase” where they are listening and digesting what others are saying. The correct approach to this phase is to be patient and allow students to listen and communicate with simple answers such as yes or no or by body language. This approach is effective with ELL students because it allows them to listen and learn language before they are expected to orally communicate (Haynes, 2005). During this time period, teachers should be encouraging and help build the confidence levels of students and help prepare them to speak

Approaches for Beginning SEI 4 English. Hands-on activities and small cooperative learning groups will help to build students confident levels as well as build their language base. A potential disadvantage to this approach includes teachers not having any written grades for students. To overcome this problem, teachers can grade students on progress based upon their responses through body language or gestures. This approach can be used in my classroom if I have a student that has little understanding of the English language. Currently my ESL students are at a progressed stage of language development. In conclusion, it is an educators responsibility to the students he or she teaches to research approaches that meet his or her needs based on the stage of development they are currently in. Approaches such as TPR, context clues, and silent period responses are essential when meeting the diverse learning styles of beginning English Language Learners and should be constantly researched by educators and administrators to ensure best practices are being used to enhance achievement levels.

Approaches for Beginning SEI 5 References Beards, Kenneth. (2009). ESL Reading Lesson: Using Context for Reading Literacy. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from http://esl.about.com/od/readinglessonplans/a/l_readcontext.htm Haynes, Judy. (2005). Pre-Production and the Silent Period. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/pre_producti_silent_period_93415.php Gunn, Chris. (2009). TPR: Total Physical Response. Retrieved April 19 from http://bogglesworldesl.com/glossary/totalphysicalresponsetpr.htm


				
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