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ELL Families and Schools

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					ELL Families and Schools Running head: ELL FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS

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ELL Families and Schools Jacklyn Roberts Grand Canyon University ESL 523 May 2, 2009

ELL Families and Schools ELL Families and Schools According to the Northwest Regional Library (2008), the English Language Learner

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population is growing at a higher rate than the general population as a whole and comprises 10% of the student population. With this in mind, America must meet the challenges of providing an equal opportunity education to ELL students entering American schools. To meet these needs, teachers and administrators must look at a plethora of aspects that affect learning when planning for the success of ELL students. Areas to take into account are the sociocultural influences on ELL students, bilingualism and home language use, parental and community resources as well as partnerships between families and schools. It is essential for teachers to understand the significant role that an ELL’s culture influences his or her success at school. It is vital for educators to connect with student’s culture and family by getting to know the student and using culturally effective teaching methods. Incorporating a student’s culture and native language includes giving an ELL student the opportunity to share his or her culture with the rest of the class. Also using multicultural literature and décor in the classroom will help students feel more connected and confident in the classroom (Northwest Regional Library, 2008). Ways to promote students culture and increase success with ELL students according to an article by Colorin Colorado (2007) includes understanding family values, expectations, family relationships, and their home environment. Teachers must inform themselves about ELL student’s country, region, and customs though research as well as invite the student’s culture into the classroom by show and tell, food tasting and storytelling. This will not only boost the student’s confidence but help him or her win the respect of their classmates.

ELL Families and Schools Another important aspect to consider when planning for student success includes understanding how to use bilingualism and home language in the classroom to help students understand the English language. According to the Northwest Regional Library (2009) language

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learners should be provided with abundant opportunities to read and write in meaningful contexts in their first and second languages. Students should be encouraged to develop literacy skills in their native language and then transfer these skills into learning English. Teachers need to be patient and allow students to speak in their native language as well as English. Teachers need to work with student’s strengths and build on what students already know. Drawing on students background experiences and encouraging connections between academic concepts and students' own lives will help students see the value of being able to communicate in multiple languages and enhance their academic performances (Northwest Regional Library, 2009). According to Starkman (2008), many parents feel that they are unique at feeling overwhelmed with their child’s education where many do not understand the language nor culture. It is important for parents and the communities to be aware of resources that can help them to learn the language, participate in schools, and become an active and integral part of their child’s success at school as well as a community member. Parents need a safe place where they can talk about their struggles and find resources to help them understand the cultures around them (Starkman, 2008). Providing outreach programs and making them known to parents and community members is essential for relationships between schools and ELL families. Ways to promote positive relationships between parents, community members and the school are providing adopt a school programs, parent/community evening study centers, parent education programs, orientation programs, and dropout prevention programs (Ovando, Combs & Collier, 2006).

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There are many ways that I can promote home and school partnerships in my classroom. I can provide materials in the student’s native language as well as newsletters inviting parents to become active in their child’s education. I can also empower parents and community members by ensuring they are aware of the resources provided to them by the school and the community. My school unfortunately does not provide many resources for ELL family members. I plan to introduce ideas such as having monthly meetings and activities with ELL parents and students to promote a positive relationship between the school and ELL families as well as orientation and evening study centers. It is important for teachers and schools to reach out to parents and community members and show them the pivotal role they play in their child’s education.

ELL Families and Schools References Ovando, C., Combs, M.C. & Collier, V.P. (2006). Bilingual and ESL Classrooms. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill. n/a. (2005). English Language Learners. Northwest Regional Educational Library. Portand, Oregon. Retrieved May, 2, 2009 from http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/reachingout/backgrounds. n/a. (2007). Learning Your Students Background. Colorin Colorado. Retrieved May 2, 2009 from http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/reachingout/backgrounds Starkman, Neal. ELL Spoken Here:Online Resources and Educator Networks. THE Journal: Technological Horizons in Education, April, pg. 1. Retrieved May 2, 2009 from http://www.articlearchives.com/education-training/academic-standards-testing/3778171.html

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