What I Learned about my Topic
I will now break down the information that I found while researching into smaller sections. The purpose of my research was to first be able to establish what defines a student as an ELL student. The second thing that I wanted to learn was statistics about ELL students. The last and most important thing to me was to learn techniques to incorporate into the classroom to assist ELL students.
Defining an ELL student. In order to help future ELL students, I must first understand who they are and where they are coming from. Drucker (2003) states the English Language Learners consist of students who are trying to learn how to read, write, and speak in a language that is different from their own. This creates an interesting challenge for the teacher as there is a new culture for the class to learn from, but there is also a language barrier that presents issues (Drucker, 2003). All ELL students are different. ELL students all have a unique background and place that they call home (Ernst-Slavit, Moore, & Maloney, 2002). These backgrounds include over 400 various languages that a child could potentially speak (Goldenberg, 2008). This means that the ELL students will bring various levels of learning to the classroom depending on what education they have received in the past (Ernst-Slavit et al., 2002).
Despite the students and their differences, they all need to acquire skills to learn English which can be accomplished through learning “academic English” not just “conversational English” (Goldenberg, 2008). Goldenberg (2008) refers to “academic English” as learning more complicated material to assist with learning in the academic setting and not just on the playground. This means that it would be easier for a student to speak casually to their friends rather than completing an assignment. “Academic English” is critical for these students to learn because ELL students are faced with being the students with the lowest achievement levels in school (Goldenberg, 2008). The type of learning that needs to be focused upon is oral, reading, and writing skills in English (Ernst-Slavit et al., 2002). These students need high amounts of assistance and care to nurture their learning process. This is the number one reason why I care so much about learning how to help them learn.
Statistics on ELL students. While I thought that living and teaching in Indiana would not have ELL students in the classroom, I was incorrect. According to statistics, Indiana had 3 to 5.9 percent of ELL students in public classrooms during the 2010-2011 school year (English, 2013). There was also a national rise in ELL students during that year which increased the previous percentage of 9 percent to 10 percent to equal around 4.7 million English learners (English, 2013). In 2002, a survey of 3 million public teachers was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics that stated 41 percent of the teachers taught ELL students while only 12.5% had actual...