Mikayla McGarry's Portfolio Page
Class homepage: ETAP 623 Spring 2023 (Zhang)
Navigate to my mini course! Supporting ELLs: Where to Start
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I am the lead English as a New Language teacher in an elementary charter school. I have a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Teaching English as a New Language (TESOL), and am currently pursuing a master's degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology (CDIT). I am passionate about advocating for minorities and am using my education and experience to help build a better future for those populations who are often failed in our educational system. Outside of work, I like to engage in multiple hobbies. I enjoy activities that cultivate a healthy mind and body through physical activity as well as creativity.
My Topic and Purpose
This mini-course is designed for professionals who find themselves in a position where they are teaching English Language Learners (ELLs), and are unsure how to support these students in whole group.
The purpose of this course is to:
- explain who ELLs are
- determine best practices for ELLs
- provide resources for differentiation
- encourage self-reflection
Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content
At the conclusion of this mini-course, learners will walk away with new concepts and materials to implement immediately in whole-class instruction with ELLs.
Learners will be able to:
- Understand what sets ELLs apart from the general student population.
- Develop an instructional framework that mitigates ELL obstacles.
- Identify and incorporate appropriate scaffolds within whole-group instruction.
- Effectively evaluate current practices in regards to their alignment with supporting ELLs.
Needs Assessment and Learner Analysis
Classroom teachers have expressed concern in how to best support ELLs. One teacher stated, "I keep explaining very simple concepts to the ELLs and then I realize that they completely understand the concept; they just can't speak English." Further support of this lack of knowledge stems from review of classroom assignments where there are no modifications or scaffolds built into the lesson. Additionally, instruction often fails to provide supportive visuals, or references and directions are often delivered solely verbally. When observing teacher-student interactions, I discover that teachers fail to express feedback or directions in a way that is understood by the ELLs, and the lack of effective communication is unbeknownst to the teachers. When observing another teacher explain her feedback to an ELL, I watched the student return to her desk and put her head down dejectedly; after asking the student what her teacher asked, she said she did not know but her teacher said she "needs to go it now." I explained the situation to the teacher later and her response expressed both confusion and guilt about the essentially failed interaction.
ELLs are a large population of students across America, and have been continuously growing in number (Antunez, 2002). Unfortunately, the learning gap between ELLs and their English-speaking peers remains vast and problematic. The National Education Association described challenges of ELL progress nationwide, such as poor communication amongst stakeholders, a lack of appropriate resources to support learning, and little to no professional development on how to instruct to meet the needs of ELLs (Van Roekel, 2010, p.2).
This course is designed to inform participants on the identity of ELLs and the implications within class. By the end of this mini-course, participants should be able to reflect on their teaching methods and instructional presentation to determine misconceptions. In addition, they will be able to incorporate new knowledge on instruction to deliver material in a way that further supports ELLs.
Analysis of the Learner and Context
Participants of this course are anyone looking to gain better insight on English Language Learners and their needs in the classroom, particularly as it applies to classroom instruction. The scope of participants may include ENL teachers, administrators, classroom teachers, ELL tutors, as well as any other staff members who may work with or make materials for ELLs.
Beyond these participants, any others are welcome who would like to learn more about scaffolds and differentiation for individuals who are not proficient in the language of classroom instruction. I would also like to encourage any academic stakeholders of ELLs (parents, volunteers, community organizations...) to take this course as a means to better understand and advocate for the child's needs at school.
At the end of this course, learners will be able to
- express who ELLs are and how they are identified in New York State.
- understand the social, academic and emotional struggles of ELLs.
- identify common barriers in ELLs' academic success and implement strategies to mitigate them.
- modify instruction and materials to support ELLs' in the classroom while aligning with grade level standards.
Task and Content Analysis
Participants will be able to support ELLs in the classroom by furthering their knowledge of ELLs, developing differentiation strategies, and reflecting on practices.
- Participants would benefit from a baseline knowledge of instructional delivery methods.
- Participants would benefit from a baseline understanding of differentiation and modification.
- Participants would benefit from knowing how to design lesson objectives.
- Participants would benefit from having experience developing a lesson plan.
- Participants will understand the various factors that set ELLs apart from other students.
- Participants will have knowledge of ELLs' barriers in the various contexts of education.
- Participants will develop a repertoire of instructional modifications/strategies to implement.
- Participants will be able to identify probable barriers in ELL understanding when looking at examples of class materials.
- Participants will be able to identify probable barriers in ELL understanding when looking at examples of instructional delivery.
- Participants will be able to modify materials to support English listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- Participants will be able to express methods of instructional delivery to support English listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- Participants will see the value and necessity of differentiating for ELLs.
- Participants will have an asset mindset when addressing ELL needs.
- Participants will feel prepared to develop a classroom supporting ELL needs.
References and Resources
Antunez, B. (2002). The preparation and professional development of teachers of English language learners. ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 477724).
Van Roekel, N. P. D. (2010). English language learners face unique challenges. National Education Association. Retrieved from https://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HE/ELL_Policy_Brief_Fall_08_%282%29.pdf