Entering a new learning environment is a challenging procedure for an ELL student. For this reason, schools offer a range of activities intended to make the process more seamless. The following brochure outlines the main steps in the placement process and identifies additional resources available to ELL student families.
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One of the most important aspects of placement is a welcoming and nurturing environment in the classroom. The process of accommodation may be complicated by anything from differences in cultural and social norms to minor aspects of classroom activities. Our teachers use a range of strategies and techniques to establish a welcoming climate.
- Focus on one-on-one assistance: Newly placed ELL students are usually reluctant to ask for help. Thus, these students are approached by teachers individually to offer assistance in a friendly way.
- Visualized Aids: Certain aspects of classroom activities, such as daily schedules, play an important role in the placement process. Making them accessible to ELL students allows them to structure their activities more efficiently.
- Peer Partners: Assistance from peers is an important aspect of the integration process. A partner assigned by a teacher helps ELL newcomers in understanding assignments and overcoming cultural differences.
- Using Culturally Relevant Information: Inclusion of films, stories, and other culturally-reflective artifacts fosters understanding among peers and creates a more welcoming environment.
Introduction of New Students
An appropriate introduction of the newly placed student is an important first step in the integration process. The current student reception program includes orientation for student’s parents complemented with brochures and information on community resources. In addition, teachers organize a welcoming procedure that highlights key aspects of the ELL student’s culture. This may include welcoming signs, games, and activities that allow students to gain insights into each other’s cultures.
Support from parents is critical in challenging situations such as the adaptation to a new learning environment. In the case of ELL students, the situation is complicated by the fact that parents may have limited language skills. To address the situation, schools offer assistance to parents by encouraging certain activities. Depending on the existing gaps in their knowledge of English language, parents may use materials such as songs, wordless or illustrated books, and bilingual reading materials, and may be provided with the explanation of their effective use.
Diversity in the School
To further improve the integration process, the school uses numerous practices that address cultural differences. Stories and cultural artifacts, such as proverbs, can be used to bring the tips on cultural differences to light. Books, films, and other media that contain useful cultural tips are to be integrated into classroom activities. At the same time, teachers can identify individual challenges and develop respective responses based on personal experience and classroom specificities.
In some cases, parents of ELL students may require in-depth knowledge or resources unavailable through cooperation with schools. In these cases, it is reasonable to turn to community resources. For example, the resources with cultural affiliations may offer better social integration by providing important information about the unfamiliar cultural environment. In some cases, organizations that specialize in political and historical issues (e.g. immigration) can help in indicating and addressing the likely barriers to integration. Finally, organizations that offer interpretation and translation services may be necessary for families whose level of English is insufficient for meaningful participation in classroom activities.
Schools incorporate numerous practices aimed at developing inclusivity in the classroom. The most common approaches include decreasing stereotyping by removing elements in the study process that are considered a threat to social identities. At the same time, teachers should deemphasize fixed intelligence concepts and attribute difficulty to external factors. The reduced stereotype threat resulting from these activities will contribute to a seamless ELL student placement.
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