Special Interest Groups
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Its Impact on English Language Learners
By Gregory Romero
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will soon be a memory as a new day begins with ESSA: Every Child Can Succeed. But, while some may be overjoyed at the demise of a law that required schools to meet learning targets that were becoming more inane: By 2013-2014, all students will be proficient in reading and math. While it increased the role of the federal government in state education, English language learners (ELLs) may have been one of the groups that actually benefited from the increased attention to their learning, pushing the subgroup from obscurity to the forefront; making districts and all staff responsible for ELL learning. It brought changes to how second language programs taught second language learners bringing new words and ideas into our everyday language: push-in, Reading First, Guided Reading, disaggregated data, inclusions, exclusions, accommodations, etc.
On December 20, 2015, the revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed into law. The revised law changes some aspects of the 2002 NCLB allowing states and schools more flexibility in assessing and instructing students including ELLs. ACCESS for ELLs is still required and no changes have yet been issued regarding ELLs and PARCC. There are currently two options on the table regarding ELLS and assessments. Option A would include English-language learners’ scores into the district accountability mix after the first year of entering a US school, but not during the first. Option B would require ELLs to take both the PARCC and the ACCESS during the first year, but scores would not count during the first year (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/11/esea_reauthorization_the_every.html) . The few changes created by the new law will not be immediate as NCLB guidelines are in place through the end of the current year. All students will continue to be assessed in reading and mathematics at least once a year in grades 3-8 and at least once in grades 9-12. In science, students will be tested at least once during the following grade spans: 3-5, 6-9, 10-12. The law still holds districts accountable for student learning; however, penalties for schools failing to make annual yearly progress has been reduced to schools that are at the bottom 5% as identified by the State of New Jersey. Priority schools whose subgroups are failing will receive state provided interventions and funding (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/03/fact-sheet-congress-acts-fix-no-child-left-behind).
The changes to the ESEA Act are both welcomed and are to be looked at with caution for our ELL population. On the one hand, students will continue to be assessed for student performance and districts will continue to be held accountable for student learning, but testing will be more state controlled versus federally controlled and testing time for students will be reduced to minimize the impact of testing on student learning. How testing for ELLs changes with the new law will be a game of wait and see. For now, we are happy to see that students coming in from Puerto Rico will be exempt from taking the ELA portion of the PARCC if they have been in a mainland school less than one year entering between July 1, 2015, and the present (http://www.state.nj.us/education/bilingual/policy/lepacc.htm). We continue to work towards the exemption of ELL students from all PARCC testing until they exit an ELL language program and we continue to advocate for the use of the ACCESS for ELLs in lieu of PARCC to measure ELA progress.
NJDOE Broadcasts 12.15.15
Gregory Romero, Bilingual Elementary SIG, firstname.lastname@example.org
What Happens in AC Stays in AC?
By Michelle Land
(This workshop discussed below has been submitted as a proposal for the NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference.)
W hat happens in AC stays in AC? I sure hope not. There were so many wonderful opportunities for professional development at the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Convention that they should be shared. And, with over thirteen of our NJTESOL/NJBE members presenting programs, the news about our profession was being spread far and wide.
I was fortunate enough to present (or should I say “perform”) with Noreen Drucker at the NJEA Convention. For those of you who have been to one of Noreen’s workshops, you are familiar with the energy she creates and imparts. Although this was the first time we presented our topic, “Building Writing for ELs*, One Word at a Time,” the surprising number of participants demonstrated a high level of interest. [*English Learner(s)]
Noreen began the presentation by focusing on the importance of building EL’s academic vocabulary. Participants were introduced to polysemous words [Ed. Words with more than one meaning] and the difficulties they can cause for ELs. She also emphasized the need to familiarize ELs with Tier 2 words.
Learning the meaning of the words is not enough, though. Noreen demonstrated the use of a Vocabulary Map which helps the student manipulate the word. They do this by identifying its parts, finding synonyms and antonyms, illustrating the word and using it correctly in a sentence. Another graphic that students can use to help expand their understanding of new vocabulary is the Frayer Model**. By using these, and other devices, students will actively not only learn new words, but also develop a strategy to build their vocabulary exponentially for now and into the future.
In the second half of the presentation, I took the reins. I focused on the WIDA Writing Rubric and ways to develop writing at each English Language Proficiency (ELP) level. I began with Level 1, Entering. At this stage, sentence frames and graphic organizers help students build their writing.
At Level 2, Beginning, sentence starters and restating questions help ELs begin their writing. This level is also a good time for the instructor to introduce the concept of differentiating between verbs and nouns.
With Level 3, Developing, students can be encouraged to use adjectives and adverbs correctly. In addition, they can begin writing expanded sentences at this level, using more specific language.
Level 4, Expanding, students can be enticed into writing by giving them picture prompts and asking them only for an introductory sentence. They should also begin the use of transitional words, prepositional phrases, and adverbs of time. Finally, students should be able to organize their ideas cohesively into a complete essay with the use of a graphic organizer.
By using this process, which begins with understanding words and ends with creating a cohesive essay, it is hoped that ELs will become comfortable and successful in writing English so that they can participate more fully in their integrated educational development. An added benefit will be that they should find more success on state and national assessments.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, come to the NJTESOL/NJBE Conference where we hope this workshop will be accepted.
Michelle Land is the NJTESOL/NJBE Bilingual/ESL Middle School 6-8 SIG Representative. She teaches ESL at Randolph Township Schools. email@example.com
** Ed.: https://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/FrayerModel.htm -“Frayer Model: This graphic organizer was designed by Dorothy Frayer and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin to provide for a thorough understanding of new words. Students are asked to provide a Definition of the word, Facts or Characteristics of the word, Examples, and Nonexamples. This graphic organizer will lead students to a deeper understanding of a word and its relationship to their own lives.”
Meet Your New SIG Representative
By Larry Bello
My name is Larry Bello and I am a high school bilingual/ESL resource specialist at Perth Amboy High School. I earned a Masters of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Roberts Wesleyan College.
I have been teaching bilingual Social Studies from 1991 to 2014 in Rochester, NY, (13 years;) Plainfield, NJ, (2 years); and Perth Amboy, NJ, (10 years) before my current position as a Perth Amboy High School bilingual/ESL resource specialist. I currently serve as the Executive Vice-President for Perth Amboy Federation/ American Federation of Teachers (AFT); a Pre-K to 12th grade Vice-president for AFTNJ; and AFT ShareMyLesson Ambassador.
My bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led me to volunteer as Bilingual Secondary Representative and to advocate for our ELLs in New Jersey high schools for NJTESOL/ NJBE during the new graduation requirements transition.
I have presented Instruction That Engages English Language Learners at AFT TEACH (Together Educating America’s Children) 2015 Conference. In this session, participants learned about practices that help ELLs learn English and content material, at the same time.
Larry Bello, Bilingual Secondary Representative, Perth Amboy High School Bilingual/ESL Resource Specialist
Celebrating Children's Culture
By Carole Maurer
As I sit down to write this article, the holiday season is in full swing. Holiday concerts, Christmas and Hanukkah crafts, parties, and even Santa visits are commonplace in classrooms this time of year. While these may be exciting ways for children to celebrate and learn about some popular American traditions, their relevance to the curriculum should be considered. The New Jersey Department of Education provides some guidance on Planning for Holiday Activities and Celebrations. This document is posted on the Early Childhood Education page of their website. It provides a list of guiding questions to consider regarding how to approach the holidays. It further provides some alternatives for approaching holiday activities.
Observe only holidays that are relevant to the cultures in the community with activities that accurately reflect what is celebrated at home and how it is celebrated at home. By valuing the cultural lives of children, teachers send a strong message to each child about his/her personal value as a member of the classroom group while simultaneously providing lessons about valuing cultural similarities and differences in the community. (www.nj.gov/education/ece)
So, how do we value children’s cultural lives and teach diversity throughout the school year? We provide children with diverse, multicultural activities. In her article Tips for Integrating Multiculturalism and Diversity into the Preschool Classroom, Jenne Parks states thata developmentally appropriate curriculum must be individually and culturally appropriate to each child. She goes on to say that children learn about diversity through play, including music, clothing, foods, games, celebrations, and dramatic play, and that multicultural activities should be integrated through all parts of the day and all parts of the classroom. (Parks, 2006).
Francis Wardle offers additional concrete ways for students to experience diversity relevant to their own families and communities in his article Diversity in Early Childhood Programs. He suggests taking children into the community on field trips, neighborhood walks, visiting unique community resources, and parents’ places of work. He also recommends bringing visitors into the school such as parents and interesting community members. Please click the link below for the full article.
Celebrating children’s cultures as an integrated and continuous part of the preschool classroom and curriculum provides a sense of value in themselves, their families and communities. It exposes children to differences and builds acceptance and appreciation of diversity.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the NJTESOL/NJBE Conference in June.
Carole Maurer, Early Childhood SIG, ESL Teacher, Ocean City School District,
Parks, Jenne (February 6, 2006). Tips for Integrating Multiculturalism and Diversity into the Preschool Classroom. Hatch, The Early Learning Experts. www.hatchearlylearning.com/integrating-multiculturalism-diversity/
Wardle, Francis. Diversity in Early Childhood Programs.
Writing Curriculum for ESL Courses (State and WIDA Standards)
By Marcella Garavaglia
My colleague Caia Schlessinger and I had a wonderful experience presenting at the 2015 New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Convention. The NJEA Events App was really helpful and it allowed us to share important documents with our attendees. If you did not get a chance to attend, there is still time to download the app, view, and save our presentation and documents.
NJDOE Model Curriculum: Curriculum that shows how an English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum assists teachers with implementation and alignment of state standards and the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards, delineates what English language learners (ELLs) can do with each student learning objective (SLO) at their developmental linguistic level, and delineates what supports are appropriate. Prior to the assessments, teachers will need to build sufficient background knowledge, provide opportunities to use key vocabulary and language forms, and develop practice with targeted strategies and supports (ELL Support Descriptions). All teachers are encouraged to use these model unit ELA Exemplars for ELLs in their classrooms as texts and assessments have been included.
Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) English For Language Learners Levels 1-4 Curriculum Guides: “In order to prepare students more effectively to pursue life goals, the ESL program’s learning objectives are based upon the 2012 WIDA Consortium English Language Development Standards for English Language Learners [sic] in Grade 9 through Grade 12 and the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. Rather than teach a series of lessons that solely address the language of a specific content area, all the activities in [these guides] are developed to foster an enduring understanding of a lesson that will allow the students to make connections to other disciplines, their lives, or the world in general. The ultimate purpose is to make English Language Learners [sic] (ELLs) literate readers, writers, and speakers in Standard American social language and academic English, as well as astute listeners and viewers. During this course, students will learn language acquisition skills that they can transfer and utilize to continue acquiring the English language while improving literacy.” English Language 1 students are expected to progress one English Language Proficiency (ELP) level from 1 to 2 by the end of the school year. English Language 2 students are expected to progress one ELP level from 2 to 3 by the end of the school year and so on.
A. Tech Formative Assessments: https://getkahoot.com
B. Virtual Flashcards, Study Games, and Practice Exams: www.quizlet.com
Students can listen to the pronunciation of the words while studying vocabulary words and definitions. Teachers can choose to use photos instead of definitions.
C. Academic Text Comprehension, Study Lists, and Activities: www.reowordify.com
- “Enter English text or a web page to simplify” in the yellow text box.
- Click “Rewordify Text.”
- Click “Print/Learning activities.”
- Click “Text with vocabulary (text on left with hard words underlined; definitions on right).”
- Click “Print page/”
- Before you print, convert the document to a PDF so you can save it for future use.
Marcella Garavaglia is the NJTESOL/NJBE ESL Secondary Representative. She teaches ESL at Colt Neck High School for the Freehold Regional High School District. firstname.lastname@example.org
Using Online Models in College Composition
By Carol Biederstadt and Irene Zhylina
One of the challenges ESL academic writing instructors encounter is the scarcity of model essays that adhere to the organizational patterns we instruct our students to follow. While ESL writing textbooks generally provide instruction using some variation of the 5-paragraph essay pattern, including an explicit thesis statement as well as topic sentences placed in customary positions, the prose found in expository writing textbooks rarely adheres to this conventional framework. Students whose critical reading/thinking skills are yet developing may then ask: "But where is the thesis statement? Why isn't there a topic sentence at the beginning of this paragraph?"
Students struggling to write without adequate models often resort to searching the internet for sample essays. Rife with essays available for download or purchase, web searching only further compounds the problem as students frustrated by an incomplete understanding of essay structure and still developing competencies may be tempted to compromise their academic integrity by "borrowing" from these dubious websites. Clearly, there is a need to provide students with reliable models that both correspond to, and support, the instruction we provide.
Creating a repository of models housed in an online platform such as a learning management system, blog, or wiki is a convenient way of storing and sharing models and allowing the instructor to control the content so that only models that reinforce course content are included. Models may include drafts of student essays, with or without instructor comments, and peer-editing feedback as well as web links to various sources: articles from well-known publications, essays of various rhetorical styles found on university websites, anchor papers, and sample research papers such as those included on the Purdue Owl website.
Especially beneficial to students is the inclusion of class-generated models, which may include topic sentences, thesis statements, introductory paragraphs, paraphrased passages, parenthetic or bibliographic citations, and even entire essays. Students gain first-hand experience by creating such models collaboratively, with the whole class or in groups, while the instructor serves as facilitator, informant, and secretary. These models later serve as templates when students produce their own work. The ease of access of the online repository appeals to students, and the ability to control what is uploaded enables the instructor to present only examples deemed suitable. This is especially beneficial to instructors teaching under-prepared students who benefit most from explicit instruction coupled with appropriate models (see, for example, Abbuhl).
While critics of modeling contend that it encourages the production of cookie-cutter essays while discouraging creativity and self-expression (Abbuhl), we have found the benefits of modeling to far outweigh any drawbacks. No instructor wants to discourage students from reading first-rate prose, of course, but in selecting writing models for students whose competencies are still developing, "showing" rather than simply "telling" (Miska) enables them to follow a visual pattern while noticing and mirroring the underlying structure of an argument.
The time required to upload models into an online repository is time well spent; the repository serves as a virtual library that can be used semester after semester and can be adapted for students at various levels. A collection of vetted, reliable models housed in an easy-access online platform is a win-win solution for both students and instructors.
Abbuhl, Rebekha. “Using Models in Writing Instruction.” SAGE Open, 2011, doi:10.1177/2158244011426. 295. Web. 10 October 2014.
Miska, Amanda. “Classroom Modeling: Scaffolding Learning or Stifling? An Inquiry.” Professional Development Schools. Department of English, Penn State University. June 2004. Web. 7 October 2014. https://ed.psu.edu/englishpds/inquiry/projects/miska04.htm
Carol Biederstadt is an Assistant Professor, Humanities/ESL, Union County College, email@example.com, 908-965-2997
Irene Zhylina is an Instructor, English/ESL, Rutgers University and Union County College, firstname.lastname@example.org, 908-965-2997
Parent and Community Action
Telling the Family Story
By Angeline Sturgis
One of the most beloved members of staff at my small elementary school is our custodian, known by his first name as "Mr. William." He is truly a jack-of-all-trades and seems to be able to fix virtually anything broken at the same time he keeps our school sparkling clean, safe, and running smoothly. But the most important thing about Mr. William is that he is one of the most grateful, kind, and understanding people I've ever met. When I found out he had come to the United States from Cuba, I was eager to learn about his journey, but unprepared for the story I was about to hear. It was a thriller with three daring attempts to sail to Miami, a stint in a jail in Havana, and a miraculous lottery win that changed the course of his life. William's six year-old daughter, Alexandra, was one of my ESL students at the time, and I was surprised to realize that she didn't know anything about William's life as a boy, or how exactly he had arrived in this country. When I asked him about it, he laughed and said he didn't think it was a very interesting story. I convinced him it was, indeed, an interesting story, and soon he was telling all the other teachers and members of staff about his journey to America. I told him one day that he should write his story down and his daughter could illustrate it. He just laughed and said, "I'll never forget it so I don't have to write it down!" I didn't persuade him to begin a new career in writing, and years passed.
From time to time, though, I came back to the idea of writing down an immigrant parent's story and having their own child illustrate it. It pays to search for money when you have an idea like that. One day last summer I found an interesting website for a non-profit in Washington, DC, called The American Immigration Council, http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org . They had many interesting things on their homepage including a section called "Community Education Center" which was right up my alley and that drew me to a box under the heading "From Classroom to Community." Imagine my excitement at seeing this announcement:
Want funding for an immigration-themed project in your classroom or community? Apply now for our 2015-2016 Community Grant Application! It didn't take long for me to write up my idea for the creation of books based on journeys to America and it didn't take long at all to receive notice that I had won the grant. Naturally, the next day I went straight to Mr. William and told him we had work to do.
I spoke to the families that attend my Latinos Unidos family literacy support group, asked if anyone was interested in joining in on the project, and selected two other stories to write. Over the next several weeks, I met with Mr. William in his office, laptop actually in my lap, and wrote down the story as he told it to me. I met with his daughter at the local library (she is now in 5th grade and in a different building) on Saturdays and watched her beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. Then I photographed her pictures, uploaded them, and through the website Shutterfly.com, created two copies of the story "Adios, Cuba!" I repeated the process for the next two books, too, "Finding a Home," and "I Thought America was in the Sky."
On December 3, 2015, at our second Latinos Unidos meeting, we presented the books in a celebration I called "Telling the Family Story." The authors read the books, the illustrations were projected on a screen, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. To end the evening, we had all the children surprise their parents by appearing on stage as the Latinos Unidos Children's Choir. They performed a medley of "This Land is Your Land," "America the Beautiful," and "You're a Grand Old Flag," a rousing finale to our celebration.
I am grateful to The American Immigration Council for their support of this project. Besides the beautiful 8" X 11" books, I was able to buy nice art supplies for the illustrators. Each family received a hardback copy of their book, and the school has its own copy on display, too.
I still have funding for another book or two, and in January, I'll be ready to start listening and typing away again. I've always believed that everyone has a story to tell. Encourage your families to share their stories, whether orally or written and illustrated, like I was able to do. One of the authors, a mother who came to this country as an impoverished child, said to me at the end of our event, "I actually feel different. My story needed to be told. All those years, it was living inside me, and I needed my children to hear it. Not only have they heard it---they illustrated it! Now my story is a part of all of us." And as Mr.William told me the next day, "My family? They didn't know anything. Now they think I'm a hero." So do the children at school, who have been greeting him with a thumbs-up and "Adios, Cuba!" In these controversial political times, it was a magnificent way to say, "This land is your land. This land is my land."
Angeline Sturgis is the Parent/Community Action Special Interest Group Representative. She works in the Lawrence Township Public Schools and may be reached at email@example.com .
Questions from the New Jersey Education Association Convention Workshop on Bilingual Education Law
By Elizabeth (BJ) Franks
Dear Colleagues — A few questions came up at our NJEA session. I unfortunately did not get the emails of the participants but I did want to answer their questions. Here are their questions and answers from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE):
1. If parents refuse services in Kindergarten, can they opt in in third grade if the child is still struggling?
So now that we must monitor the children whose parents refuse services, we have the documentation of when or whether they meet the exit criteria. So this would depend on that factor. The re-entry regulation would also come into play.
So if a parent declines services in kindergarten and the child is no longer considered ELL at the end of first grade, they could still be considered eligible for re-entry at the beginning of 3rd grade.
2. Must an ESL teacher include an ELL whose parents decline services in his/her SGO since the district is still responsible for the child's education?
No, the SGO includes only the children who the teacher directly services.
3. Can a charter school be eligible for Title III funds?
Yes. It follows the Title III guidelines of district eligibility.
Push in ESL — An Inclusionary Practice the Works
By Sonya Bertini
R ecently, there has been an intense back and forth on the Hotlist regarding the push in delivery model for providing English as a Second Language instruction to students. I admit that upon reading some of the comments, I was dismayed to see how many of you really are dissatisfied with the model and actually find it counterproductive. Your arguments against were certainly well founded. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to take a stand in favor of the push in model. I will base my pitch not only on research, but on my own experience with inclusive instruction as a special educator, a bilingual general education teacher, and an ESL teacher.
The push in model is an inclusive practice. In fact, it is the inclusion of English language learners in the general education classroom. I am an advocate of inclusive practices. Lipsky and Gartner (1996) provide a definition of inclusion which is representative of how I feel about this practice, clearly speaking to the provision of specialized supports within general education settings.
Inclusion is the provision of services to students with disabilities, including those with severe impairments, in the neighborhood school, in age-appropriate general education classes, with the necessary support services and supplementary aides (for the child and the teacher) both to assure the child’s success - academic, behavioral and social – and to prepare the child to participate as a full and contributing member of the society. (Lipsky and Gartner, 1996, pg. 763).
Obviously, the above definition makes reference to inclusion as it pertains to children with disabilities. It doesn’t matter. Substitute the words “students with disabilities” for “second language learners” and “those with severe impairments” for “newcomers” and the definition still works. The philosophy is the same and it is powerful. The goal is educating the whole child, no matter what the status of that child is, so that he/she succeeds in and out of school and with his/her peers. Inclusive practices are characterized by a shared responsibility between the general and special education or ESL teacher who work together to identify the needs of all the students and develop educational strategies to meet those needs. At the risk of using a term we may all have grown so weary of, it is educating by universal design.
In the field of Special Education, where inclusive practices have been the trend for about twenty years, various advantages have been linked to their implementation in the general education classroom: greater coherence and collaboration between the general and special education teacher, improved self-esteem in special education students, more positive social relations and an increased motivation toward the school. Studies have found that in an inclusive classroom teachers created a motivating learning environment partly because they were confident about meeting the needs of all students in their classroom. Positive outcomes relative to the academic and social skills of low-achieving students were also reported. Meyers, Glezheiser and Yelich (1991) found that classroom teachers preferred the in-class support model for delivering special education services. They reported more frequent collaborative meetings, a greater focus on instructional issues, and acquisition of more instructional techniques to support students with diverse learning needs. Finally, research has shown that inclusive settings have been associated with more favorable outcomes on academic performance based on the level of engagement, involvement in integrated activities, affective demeanor and social interaction of students. This suggests a greater opportunity for skill development in a variety of curricular areas by virtue of the more varied and stimulating experiences available to students.
The advantages of inclusionary programs are apparent and more importantly well documented. Yet, as evidenced by the dialogue on the Hotlist, many teachers have real concerns about putting them into practice. Why? In some cases I believe that the rationale behind the practice is not clearly conceptualized or demonstrated. It isn’t obvious which students will benefit and how they will benefit. There is a need for training and professional development so that all the stakeholders understand the philosophy of inclusion and the conditions that must be satisfied in order for its successful implementation. Secondly, there is a lack of resources: time for common planning, necessary staff, materials, all the things necessary for the program to work well. Very often, inclusion has been thrown at teachers who do not have the time to redesign their plans with their collaborating teacher. Indeed, they have no time to collaborate at all. Teachers are being forced to do something without the necessary supports. It’s no wonder they feel negatively toward the program. Thirdly, there is the problem of commitment. Very often the key staff, the educators and administrators who are charged with delivering or supervising the program, are not committed to it long term. There has been no real buy-in. As a result, there is no real allegiance to the program that can carry people through the anxiety and frustration of the early stages and certain setbacks. Finally, leadership may pose a barrier to the successful implementation of the inclusionary program. Supervisors and building administrators can be either too controlling or too ineffectual, offering no help at all.
I know inclusion works. I am certain inclusion for ELLs works as well, because it has worked for me time and again. For it to work, there are conditions that must be satisfied. It is essential that the ESL teacher collaborates with the general education teacher and vice versa. There has to be collaborative teaming between them and this should include the administrators and parents as well. The ESL teacher is not an assistant or an instructional aide. She is a collaborating teacher and should be working with the general education teacher at the planning stages of a lesson. Obviously, for this type of collaboration to occur, there must be time allotted for planning and reflection, at least 60 minutes a week. Inclusion should not mean a decrease in ESL services, instead it might mean that these services are delivered differently in different locations. Classroom instruction is delivered by both teachers, instruction is scaffolded and based on problem solving. Dialogue is encouraged in the classroom. Learning is student centered and cooperative. Parent involvement should be encouraged and the benefits of an inclusive classroom for all students should be emphasized. In my opinion and experience, the optimal class period for an ESL teacher to push in is the language arts period, with social studies/history coming in at second place. Since what ESL teachers are teaching is language it only makes sense for them to push in during a class in which language is being taught. Certainly, there need to be opportunities for the ESL teacher to do focused mini-lessons on skills with the students who need them. Those students might be just the ELLs in the class or a mixture of ELLs and general education students who need the extra support. These mini-lessons can be given in the classroom at a separate table, while the general education teacher is working with the rest of the class on something related to the lesson. Newcomers will no doubt need extra support. They should be taken out of their classrooms at a specific time of day to receive additional instruction by the ESL teacher. However, this instruction should not replace the whole group inclusive instruction. It should be supplementary instruction.
Perhaps the greatest benefits of inclusion have little to do with academics or skill acquisition per se. These advantages, increased self-esteem and student motivation, should not be sacrificed because of poor program implementation. Let’s all put our heads together and try to make inclusion work for our ELLs and follow the lead of our Special Education colleagues, who no doubt were faced with many of the same challenges twenty years ago.
Lipsky, D.K. & Garnter, A. (1997). Inclusion and School Reform: Transforming America’s
Classrooms. Baltimore, Md. Paul H. Brookes
McGregor G. & Timm Vogelsberg, R. (1998). A Synthesis of the Literature that Informs Best
Practices about Inclusive Schooling. University of Montana
Sonya Bertini, SPED SIG, Bilingual/ESL Resource Room Teacher, Vineland High School firstname.lastname@example.org