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English Language Learners Programmes for Schools

English language learners or ELL’s are students who do not have the English language as a first language. The term may also be used to refer to a course taught to improve the language skills of students. English is taught not only to pass the English language but also to learn other subjects. There are many ways of classifying ELL’s causes but the basic three focuses on the intent of the course, the language of instruction and the target group. The language of instruction is usually either the use of English or the use of multiple languages to instruct. The target group can be the majority or minority students. The Intent of course is based on the desired outcome either to have monolingual, multilingual or bilingual students. Additive bilingual models aim at adding to the competencies that a student already has as well as giving them linguistic knowledge in other languages. Maintenance bilingual or heritage programs aim at promoting the upholding of minority cultures in the United States. There are also programs aimed at teaching sign language to deaf children.

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There are several ways of identifying English language learners students. These are both written and verbal. Some of the factors that are put to count when determining the ELL’s include determining the first language of the learner. This is because the first language a person speaks determines highly how proficient they are in English. This is applicable in two ways. One is in terms of learners who exclusively speak another language and the other is in terms of bilingual or multilingual students. One way of identifying such students, widely used but not agreeable to many in usually using the second name. When a teacher finds that (s) he cannot easily pronounce a student’s name they recommend the learners to take ELL. However, the use of the three procedures (where applicable) together ensures maximum efficiency.

There are two main types of assessments which are direct linguistic support accommodations and indirect linguistic accommodation. These are formal and informal procedures. Formal procedures are conducted in a class assessment with the main ones being written assessment. The informal procedures include verbal assessments. Direct linguistic accommodation may mean changing the language of the test or translating. They are also sometimes provided in the learner’s native language. The written assessment may be used on the older learners who know how to write. This may not be a favourable assessment for younger students. For students in kindergarten or the lower grades, a verbal assessment of basic communication may be used to determine who needs the ELL’s (Tindal and Haladyna, 2002).

Especially for young children, verbal tests are also used. This is done either as an exam where students are required to speak or read aloud from a text or they are conducted as part of classwork where a teacher during class time monitors how the students answer questions or communicate during class sessions. Students may be required to read out aloud and they may also be conducted by using audiotapes as guidelines (Smith, 2010).

A determination of the proficiency level of learners is conducted periodically to monitor the progress of the students. The ways used to do this are assessment tests as well as verbal tests. Written assessment tests are used among older students. Here a specialized test may be used or the assessment may be conducted by using other tests that the learner writes. For example, the history exam of a student may be used to determine how well a student can communicate their ideas effectively. A composition may also be used to determine the same. Their students also take a state exam which measures their progress concerning other students. This is a form of standardization. This is a form of large scale assessment. Smaller-scale assessments are conducted in the school with internal assessment tests done every month. The test results are not included in students report forms or used to gauge school performance. The sole aim is to improve and monitor the language proficiency of the students.

For teachers, they need to develop ELLs that are learner-oriented and address the needs of the learners. For this, they identify students and group them according to their needs from where they develop a curriculum that fits each group. The groups if large are further subdivided into small classes to ensure that each student gets maximum attention from the tutor. The students are categorized according to the linguistic categories. For example, the Latin languages, francophone language etc. This ensures that all students get individual attention and take the shortest time possible in ELL’s classes (Jong, 2010).

Conclusion

ELL is mainly used to help students to improve their language skills in either one or many languages. It seeks to ensure that they can effectively communicate. Periodic assessments are conducted to gauge the level of improvement of the students and take appropriate action concerning the finding. However, it should be noted that the results of ELL are not incorporated in the final result of the student thus they do not affect the general class performance.

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References

Jong, E. (2010). From Models To Principal: Implementing Quality Schooling For ELL Best Practices In ELL Instruction. New York: Guilford Press.

Smith, T. (2010). English Language Learners (ELL’s): Standards and Assessments. Web.

Tindal. G. & Haladyna, T. (2002). Large-Scale Assessment Programs for All Students: Validity, Technical Adequacy and Implementation. New York: Routledge.

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