The growing number of English language learners (ELLs) is a problem with which the education system of the United States is faced. Numerous English second language (ESL) schools offer their services to immigrants and their families. However, early literacy and academic performance of ELLs are still at a low level. The main goal of this paper is to research an ELL educational process, highlighting existing challenges and achievements.
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Challenges for Schools
There are abundant resources that can help ELLs to master their skills. The bab.la dictionaries are a very helpful tool for students of any level (“English language,” n.d.). These dictionaries offer synonyms and various examples of how to use words depending on the context. Another important resource is Real English. This online video library offers different interviews with people from English-speaking countries (“English language,” n.d.).
These videos are organized into several groups that relate to grammar, vocabulary, and other criteria. This resource also provides various interactive exercises. ESLgold is a website that offers many materials for students and teachers (“English language,” n.d.). There are different categories that include videos, exercises, lessons, and vocabulary activities. Also, this website provides an opportunity to communicate with other users. Therefore, students can share their experiences and exchange ideas.
Preparation of Teachers
Students from various countries study at ESL schools. These learners have different abilities and distinct cultural characteristics. However, school personnel has to evaluate, assist, and teach all students equally (Gandara & Hopkins, n.d.). Teachers need to offer a wide range of studying opportunities depending on individual needs and wants. Therefore, it is necessary to establish training courses that aim at improving the professional competency of educators.
The great diversity of students requires different approaches, and teachers have to be prepared to meet the expectations of learners. Schools are often not ready to enroll in the growing number of ELLs. Immigrants who have settled in the United States usually bring their families. Therefore, schools need more specialists, space, and equipment. Also, most teachers feel under-supported when it comes to coping with student diversity. It negatively affects the academic achievements of learners.
Hence, the school administration should find ways to alleviate this situation. One of the most effective solutions is teaching assistants (TAs). Therefore, the preparation of teachers should involve collaboration with TAs. In addition, communication systems need to be improved. Poor communication between students and teachers is a fundamental issue. Hence, another important component of the preparation of educators is communicative skills. It is necessary to cooperate more effectively with students and their parents to improve academic outcomes.
Role of Parents
There are different factors that influence the academic achievements of ELLs. However, one of the most significant aspects is parent involvement. The participation of ELLs families is crucial for students. Parents of English language learners tend to tolerate poor quality of teaching as they are not familiar with the education system and cannot complain about existing problems. Also, such parents often do not motivate their children. In addition, students can improve their English skills with their families. For example, reading to children is a very important activity that enhances early literacy and academic performance. The more time students dedicate to a language, the better results they get. Therefore, communication with parents plays a crucial role in the studying process.
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Factors Affecting Parent Support and Involvement
The main factors of parental involvement include supervision, cooperation with teachers, encouraging children to participate in extracurricular activities, and collaboration with communities. However, there are different barriers that prevent parents from supporting their kids. Except for language differences, the main problems are family mobility and deprivation (Jafarov, 2015). Immigrants usually live in worse conditions than other citizens.
Most parents of ELLs work at low-wage jobs, and it negatively affects the quality of parent supervision. Immigrants are more likely to trust schools without questioning their performance. Also, poor conditions result in frequent relocations in different districts or cities. Therefore, children have to adjust to changing environments. Another important problem is a low level of education in parents. They cannot help their kids to do homework because they lack knowledge.
There are different solutions to improve parental support and involvement. First, it is necessary to establish better communication between schools and parents. Educators should explain to parents their responsibilities and assist in handling them. Therefore, schools have to enhance collaboration with parents and develop realistic expectations. Such communication should be established in both ways. Ideas that parents suggest need to be carefully analyzed.
Also, personal contacts with teachers are very important to engage parents more deeply in an educational process. However, group meetings are necessary to discuss more common problems. Another way to enhance parental involvement is parent advisory groups (PAG). Such groups help families to assess services that schools offer. Also, PAGs might serve as centers that provide resources necessary for parents.
Model Programs and Their Characteristics
Different programs are designed to help ELLs reach their goals. Such programs are often offered in areas where immigrant minorities are diverse, representing various languages (Gandara & Hopkins, n.d.). Students with different backgrounds study together, and thus educators do not have to speak other languages except for English. The first type of program is mostly presented in elementary school.
Pupils study half a day in general education classes and then continue in special education classes where they receive tasks in English. The next program is called the ESL class period and is mostly used in middle school. Students complete assignments in English, but they might be divided into groups depending on their English skills. Another program is ESL resource centers. Such centers accept students from different classes and provide various learning materials under the supervision of a full-time teacher.
Challenges for Implementation
However, there are certain challenges for the implementation of such programs. First, the amount of time that students and teachers can dedicate to an educational process is a crucial factor. Children usually do not have enough opportunities to practice the language. Therefore, it slows down the pace of a program. Another obstacle is the lack of printed materials. It is very important to show children English texts as early as possible, so they become familiar with characters and sounds. The socioeconomic background of students can also affect the effectiveness of ELL programs.
ELLs encounter various obstacles that affect their academic achievements. There are not enough educators who can teach a great number of foreign students in the United States. Learners’ background and socioeconomic status might also serve as an additional barrier. Although different programs are established to address this issue, there are still many problems to overcome. Therefore, it is highly necessary to improve the education system and enhance its effectiveness.
English language learner (ELL) resources. (n.d.). Web.
Gandara, P., & Hopkins, M. (n.d.). Challenges in English learning education. Web.
Jafarov, J. (2015). Factors affecting parental involvement in education: The analysis of literature. Khazar Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 18(4), 35-44.