Thursday, October 13, 2011

ESL (English as a Second Language)

Question: What is the basic technique in working with Junior High students whose native language is not English?

The Problem: “You teach reading. You get a new student. A common event in the life of a teacher. But this student does not speak your language. Your anxiety level rises as you realize that you do not speak the student’s language, either. Yet you are expected to teach the student to read. What do you do? I’ve faced that problem, and this article presents some of my solutions.” P. 628.

Quote: “I did everything I could to get them to use all of the language arts. I had them write as much as possible, read as much as possible, listen as much as possible, speak as much as possible, and think as much as possible in doing all the other activities.”

 In writing, the author used communication logs in which the teacher posed questions and the students, using their dictionaries, figured out the meaning of the questions from the dictionary and wrote their  answers.  Here are some of her initial questions: “What do you like here? What do you miss about your country? What do you like to eat in America? What do you want to know about me?” p. 629.

Comment: The goal is good. Use all the language arts as much as possible. The communication logs proved to be especially useful. Assumed that most families had at least one person familiar with the English language at home. Discovered that most techniques used with native English-speaking students worked with ESL students when adapted by increasing the amount of discussion. In the directed reading assignment (DRA), for example, background information on the topic of the chapter; title; sub-titles; first sentence of each intermediate paragraph; last paragraph; charts, diagrams, pictures; purpose for reading and/or questions the students will read to answer. RayS.

Title: “Working with New ESL Students in a Junior High School Reading Class.” BM Arthur. Journal of Reading (May 1991), 628-631.

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