Grand Canyon Week 5 Culture in Learning SEI strategies Presentation

Grand Canyon University

Question Description

Create a 15 slide PowerPoint presentation that you could deliver to your colleagues highlighting effective SEI strategies while being mindful of cultural influences on learning. Choose 5 SEI strategies that could be used in a classroom with students for whom English is an additional language as well as English-only students to promote language and content. How could these strategies be more effective if instructors were to take into account some of the theoretical language acquisition principles mentioned in your required reading?

Include presenter’s notes, a title slide, in-text citations, and a reference slide that contains at least three sources from the required readings or your research.

  • Read Chapters 4-5 in Bilingual and ESL Classrooms: Teaching in Multicultural Contexts (5th edition).
  • Read "What a Case Study Reveals: Facing the New Challenge and Learning the Basics in Second Language Acquisition,” by Nan Li, Mitchell, and Howard, from National Teacher Education Journal (2011).

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What a Case Study Reveals: Facing the New Challenge and Learning the Basics in Second Language Acquisition Nan Li Yvonne Mitchell Courtney Howard Abstract: The fastest growing segment of the school population in the United States is currently the English Language Learners (ELLs). From 1995 to 2005, the general school population growth in the United States was only 12 percent, but the population growth among the ELLs was 105 percent (NCES, 2009). Other data reveals that 5.1 million or 10.5 percent of the U.S. school population are the ELL students (NCLRC, 2008). Although most ELLs are coming from non-European countries, the teachers in the United States are mainly from Caucasian backgrounds. This creates a mismatch between the backgrounds of the students and that of the teachers. As the ELL school population is growing in size and variety, both the teachers and the students are confronted with the new challenge of providing quality teaching and learning and engaging these students to fully participate in academics so that they can graduate and become productive members of society. In order to meet their learning needs, it is important that teachers acquire the basics in applying second language acquisition theories to be able to understand this learning process and seek improved teaching practices. This case-study provided an epitome of the learning experiences of the ELL students who were experiencing the transition from a non-English to an English-only school environment. When analyzing the case scenario, we combine the discussion with L2 acquisition theories and provide suggestions for teachers. About Authors: Dr. Nan Li is Associate Professor at Claflin University. She is also Project Director of the National Professional Development program, a federally-funded grant project that collaborates with four school districts to improve English for ELLs. Ms. Yvonne Mitchell is ESOL Program Coordinator of Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She is a National Board Certified teacher in English as a New Language. Dr. Courtney Howard is Interim Dean of the School of Education at Claflin University. She also serves as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the School of Education. Key Words: English Language Learner, ELL, L2 acquisition, learning environment, teaching practices The New Challenge School demographics in the United States have become more diverse. This diversity is added by the increase of the English Language Learners (ELLs) in schools in recent decades. Recently, the ELL population has become the fastest growing segment of the school population in the United States. Data reveals that, from 1995 to 2005, the general school population growth was 12 percent; yet, the increase of the ELL school population was 105 percent (NCES, 2009). Other data also reveals that 5.1 million or 10.5 percent of the U.S. school population are the ELL students (NCLRC, 2008). More importantly, these ELLs are coming from non-European counties. Yet, the teacher force in the United States is comprised of the teachers who are mainly from Euro-American National Teacher Education Journal • Volume 4, Number 1 backgrounds. This creates a mismatch between the backgrounds of the students and that of the teachers (Jalongo, 2007; Zelasko & Antunez, 2000). As the ELL school population is growing in size and variety, both the teachers and students are confronted with the new challenge of providing quality teaching and learning and of engaging these students’ participation so that they can graduate and be productive members of society. Fillmore (2000) argues that, before ELLs are able to function adequately in our schools, they must have English language skills to handle the required academic tasks and be able to interact in a variety of social situations taking place in the classrooms. The following scenario in the Winter 2011 25 case-study provides an epitome of teaching and learning related to the ELL students who were experiencing the transition from a non-English to an English-only school environment. When analyzing the case, we combine the discussion with second language (L2) acquisition theories and provide suggestions for teachers. Our purpose is to answer these two fundamental questions: Why do teachers need the basics of L2 acquisition knowledge to optimize the classroom environment and to teach effectively in classrooms where there are ELLs? How can teachers optimize classroom environments to assist ELLs in their learning process? It is our belief that the pedagogy traditionally used in classrooms is inadequate for instructing ELLs and that teachers need to know the basics of L2 acquisition theories in order to teach effectively. This seemingly natural process is much more complex and is imbued with many factors beyond simply acquiring English (Olsen, 2000). Kelly’s Case Study Scenario Within a heterogeneous classroom where there are ELLs, teachers’ efforts may be counterproductive without basic knowledge in L2. The following scenario in a case study supports this statement and illustrates how a teacher with inadequate knowledge in L2 acquisition appears to be ineffective when interacting with an ELL in the classroom. The setting for the case-study observations was a fourth grade classroom in a rural school. On this particular scene, the teacher, a primarily English-speaking female, was teaching a social studies class. “Kelly” (pseudonym) was a ten-years-old ELL participant. Kelly came from China and had been in her new school for four months when the study took place. At the beginning of this scenario, Kelly was sitting in the classroom and appeared much quieter than her peers. This was because she could not speak English to carry on a conversation with other English speakers, who were casually talking while waiting for the class to start. The teacher began this social studies lesson with a quiz. Students were instructed that after they finished the quiz, they should be quiet and could read books of their own choice. The quiz began and the classroom became quiet. After a few minutes, some students began to turn in their quizzes to the teacher and started reading. Looking around the classroom, Kelly handed in her quiz. Taking a book from the drawer, she began to read as well. Yet, her book was in Chinese. It was sent by a relative in China and was the story of a successful Chinese girl who was admitted as an exceptional student to Harvard University due to her outstanding performance. Kelly had been reading the same book at home. From an earlier interview with her, the researcher learned that 26 Winter 2011 Kelly had every intention to follow this brilliant girl as her role model. This choice of a role model was despite her inability to speak or read English, all of which she hid with her quiet demeanor. After the quiz, the teacher divided the class into two teams to review the knowledge on Constitutional Amendments, a topic from the previous lesson. The two groups sat in two rows facing each other. Kelly moved quietly with her team and sat at the end of the row. Each team member must take turns to answer a question and, if the answer was correct, he or she could gain a point for the team and receive the chance to throw the basketball once. The teacher used her textbook as a reference and asked each team a question. Kelly was asked four questions. She answered three questions incorrectly and, with the whispered help of a teammate, answered one correctly. She looked embarrassed each time she gave an incorrect response. These questions, the researcher observed, were difficult even for the English-speaking students and they were certainly incomprehensible for a student with limited English proficiency. One question, for example, contained words such as “illegal seizure” and “freedom of search.” Surprisingly, the question asked to the boy who sat next to Kelly and who provided her with that whispered help, was much easier, “What’s the name of the highest court in the U.S.?” The answer was given instantly, “The Supreme Court.” After this class, the researcher talked with the teacher about Kelly’s learning. The teacher explained that Kelly was making progress, but needed to be challenged. She explained that Kelly should neither feel embarrassed when she did not know certain words nor feel inferior or depend on her peers. When asked if the questions asked to Kelly were difficult in terms of language for her to understand, the teacher felt that she was fair to Kelly and that it was important to challenge Kelly with the same level of learning content and the instructional method used with the other children in the class. In doing so, the teacher felt she was demonstrating equality in the teaching, using the teacher’s words, “She (Kelly) must feel equal to others.” During the research period, the researcher also visited Kelly at home frequently. In one interview with her, when asked how she felt about her new school, Kelly responded that she liked her new American school because the school rules here were not very strict. Since the conversation was in Chinese, the researcher asked Kelly what the English word was for “strict”. She had no concept of the English word for strict although she understood its meaning in Chinese. She likely would have understood the concepts of “illegal seizure” and National Teacher Education Journal • Volume 4, Number 1 “freedom of search” if those words had been explained to her by the teacher through examples or by using pictures in that social studies class. The teacher could have also allowed her to use an electronic dictionary that would have translated these terms from English to Chinese. As mentioned, by the time the study began, Kelly had been in the U.S. school for only four months. Her English speaking skill was improving and her time in the ESOL (English Speaker of Other Language) classroom was reduced from one hour everyday to half an hour on three days a week. As social interaction with her peers increased, Kelly was learning more English and the nuances that often accompany conversations in any language. Yet, she was still in the early stage of learning English and needed time to understand and to digest what had been said to her by other peers and the teacher. Theoretically, this is called a silent period. Discussions from Kelly’s Case From Kelly’s case, it is evident that teachers need to know the basics of L2 theories to interact effectively with ELLs in the classrooms and to provide them opportunities for success. Teachers also need to recognize differences in teaching primary speakers of English and in teaching ELLs and be skillful in modifying instruction or providing appropriate modification to meet the needs of all students in the classrooms. The ability to adapt instruction to meet the needs of the ELL students is especially important. When discussing meeting children’s literacy needs, Spiegel (1999) points out that best practices can be achieved only when teachers acknowledge the differences in children and effectively adapt instruction, making use of children’s strengths and needs. Hence, fairness from a teacher is treating each child differently by creating the kind of learning environment where each child has the opportunity to accomplish the expected goals and objectives instead of focusing on the same activities when teaching without regard for their linguistic or academic differences. The environment where learning takes place is also an important facet of instruction to be designed carefully. Cohen and Ball (2001) discuss conditions of literacy and argue that instruction is interaction involving teachers, students, and content, and that instruction takes place in environments, offering both constraints and opportunities. The learning process of acquiring a L2 for the ELLs is a complex process and involves various factors. Yet, the learning environment has a direct effect on ELL students’ learning. This is because L2 acquisition involves affective aspects. Teachers can facilitate this learning process by creating, within the National Teacher Education Journal • Volume 4, Number 1 classroom environment, the conditions that offer more opportunities than constraints. Only when teachers are aware of this important point, are they able to teach more effectively in the heterogeneous classroom. This leads to our first question, why do teachers need the basics of L2 acquisition knowledge to optimize the classroom environment? Theoretical Basics in L2 Acquisition Regarding L2 acquisition, Krashen (1985) proposes a comprehensible input hypothesis. Based on this theory, ELLs acquire a L2 by understanding the language that is slightly beyond their current level of competence. In guessing and inferring the meaning of linguistic information embedded in the communicative context, learners are able to comprehend grammar and vocabulary. Yet, the conscious mastery of grammar and vocabulary does not prepare an ELL to use the language for communicative purposes. Instead, it serves as a monitor, a cognitive device that learners use to assess their linguistic and semantic accuracy as they communicate in a L2. However, the use of the monitor decreases the amount of information that an ELL can transmit; the process takes time, and thus disrupts linguistic performance. In other words, Krashen insists that fluency in L2 performance is the result of what ELLs acquire in an incidental and subconscious way through exposure to the language in a meaningful way and in the natural context when the message and the meaning for communication is understood. Krashen’s comprehensible input hypothesis is drawn from Chomsky’s (1965) theory, which suggests that the human brain has a genetically evolved Language Acquisition Device (LAD). Krashen (1985) extends Chomsky’s theory, saying that this mental device functions more or less in all human beings. When this device receives intelligible and meaningful messages, the brain has no choice but to acquire the language, just as our visual system has no choice but to see. However, the learner may not always understand this language input and it may not reach the LAD. This situation can be caused by what Krashen refers to as affective filter, which consists of a set of negative influences, such as high anxiety, low motivation, and low self-esteem. The high affective filter creates a mental block to make it difficult for the language message to reach the LAD. This indicates that, when interacting with ELLs, teachers need to create an environment that reduces anxiety, increases motivation, and enhances self-esteem in order to lower affective filter and increase chances for ELLs to learn. The comprehensible input theory also suggests to teachers that instructional messages to ELLs must be Winter 2011 27 meaningful and comprehensible. Cummins (1981) contributes to L2 acquisition theories by formulating his knowledge transfer theory and two types of L2 proficiency. He criticizes the arguments on both sides of L2 debates as oversimplified, i.e., one side argues that bilingual education delays English acquisition whereas the other side suggests that children master their first language (L1) before learning English. He points out that neither argument could stand up to theoretical examination. In opposition, he proposes an interdependent hypothesis, saying that different language skills inhabit the same part of the brain, reinforcing each other at the base while differing at the surface. Based on this duel model of the bilingualism, Cummins (1981) proposes the knowledge transfer theory and explains that an ELL who has mastered the basics of reading and writing in L1 will perform relatively well in a L2 environment since cognitive knowledge in L1 facilitates the learning in a L2 context, i.e., the knowledge transfers from L1to L2. Cummins (1981) also proposes two types of L2 proficiency. The two types are basic interpersonal communications skills (BICS) and cognitive-academic language proficiency (CALP). He argues that BICS develops within two to three years of an ELL’s entering the English-speaking environment. This type of L2 proficiency is developed depending on clues, e.g., visual gestures, conversational responses, and physical interactions. BICS is not enough to support the academic success for the ELLs although they may appear orally fluent in English after two or three years. If they are to succeed cognitively and meet the academic demand of school, i.e., have the proficiency in reading and writing skills, ELLs must have CALP, which is fundamental for academic success. CALP is developed in about five to seven years, best nurtured by ELLs’ existing knowledge in L1. From Cummins’ theory, implication is that L2 learning takes time and needs the support of ELLs’ existing knowledge in L1. In exploring the basics of L2 theoretical perspectives, it is obvious that L2 acquisition involves various aspects. In addition, any spoken language, as a social instrument, not only gives an individual identity but also affects how individuals interact in society (Jalongo, 2007). Olsen (2000) also studies ELLs’ adjustment to a new language and culture and explains that becoming fluent English speakers is the prime goal embraced by most ELLs because English is a fundamental requirement for acceptance and participation in the dominant society. In other words, English is not just a vehicle of communication. Rather, it is a social and political 28 Winter 2011 marker of affiliation and belonging. Going through a life transition of identity recognition from a familiar culture to one that is unfamiliar, Ells have already felt a sense of loss. The inadequacy in using the new language adds to the sense of loss and to the anxiety in meeting the academic demands of school. Thus, when understanding the complexity of this process, teachers need to provide support for ELLs to learn by reducing negative influences, e.g., lower anxiety and enhance self-esteem and motivation to facilitate ELLs’ academic success. Reexamining Perspective Kelly’s Case from a Theoretical After viewing the theoretical perspective of L2 acquisition, we propose that the reader re-examine Kelly’s lesson. Several points of these L2 theories are relevant. Comprehensible input reveals the importance of meaningful instruction to ELLs; affective filter implies the need of supportive learning environment; transfer theory reminds teachers of the link between existing knowledge in L1 and the learning in L2; two types of L2 proficiency indicates that L2 acquisition is a long, complicated process. Keeping these basics in mind, there are at least four types of inappropriate instructional aspects in Kelly’s social studies lesson. They are: 1) the teacher’s questions about Constitutional Amendments did not contain comprehensible input for Kelly to understand because she hardly knew basic English words; 2) classroom environment was characterized with high affective filter in that the teacher failed to adapt the instruction, e.g., the questioning technique that created anxiety instead of reducing it for Kelly; 3) Kelly was forced to produce correct responses when she had developed neither BICS nor CALP; and 4) the teacher failed to make a link between Kelly’s existing knowledge in L1 to the learning in L2 to catch the teachable moment. The first inappropriateness is related to Krashen’s theory. By the time the case study began, Kelly was in her American school for only four months with no previous exposure in an English-speaking environment. The teacher’s questions contained words, such as “illegal seizure” and “freedom of speech,” which were apparently incomprehensible for Kelly. The second is also related to Krashen’s theory. The affective filter is a set of negative influences ...
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Final Answer

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SEI Strategies
Student’s Name
Affiliate Institution

• English Language Learners is the fastest growing
population in schools across the United States.
• However, most of the teachers responsible to
teach the ELLs have Caucasian backgrounds which
results to incompatibility of the learners’
backgrounds and those of the teachers.
• This presentation seeks to highlight strategies
which can be used in classrooms that have
students whom English is an additional language
as well as those whom English is the only

SEI Strategies
In order to overcome the mismatch between the backgrounds of
the teachers and the students, the following strategies can be
•Guided interaction
•Authentic assessment and metacognition
•Vocabulary and language development
•Universal themes and meaning based context
•Use of visuals, graphic organizers and modeling

Guided Interaction
Lessons are structured so that the
learners work together to
comprehend what they are
reading (Ralston, 2010). The
strategy is focussed on the guided
interaction of learners in the

Authentic assessment and
• The strategy is one of the
ways of assessing a
learning that reflects the
learners attitudes,
motivation and
achievement on the
stipulated classroom
tasks (Ovando & Combs,
• Authentic assessments...

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