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This paper will explore information presented from EDSL 673 and EDSL 671 from the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program. The information presented will explore the five top ideas that have generated to most intrigue over the duration of these last two courses. Information will be discussed as to the importance of these ideas and the implications they will have on future teaching. This paper will also explore ways that these ideas can be implemented in current teaching under the pre-existing conditions of the teaching assignment. Explanations will also be presented to express what could potentially be the immediate results as well as the long-term results expected for having implemented these ideas within the current teaching assignment. These ideas are relevant to teachers that will benefit from information pertaining to instruction of English Language Learners (ELL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) students.
There are so many different aspects of teaching that are necessary in order for educators to be effective and to ensure that all students are learning to their fullest potential. This is no exception for teachers of ELL or ESL students. However, due to the nature of children and the way each child learns, teachers need to know the best practices for instruction based on the needs of their students. There are several different techniques and methods that may be utilized with ELL and ESL students in order for these children to be successful in their learning; and therefore to become successful when working with their peers within the classroom.
Based strictly on the information being presented from the last two courses, there were several different concepts and ideas that were being introduced. Although many of these notions are familiar to experienced teachers, there are several ideas that may standout to individuals as they may have higher implications to their teaching than others. There are five ideas from these two courses that present the highest implications, and they are the concepts of Natural Order Hypothesis, Affective Filter Hypothesis, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Schema, and Accessing Prior Knowledge.
The concept of Natural Order Hypothesis presents educators with the order that individuals acquire language skills. There are predictable stages for primary language acquisitions along with predictable stages for the acquisition of secondary languages. Primary language is acquired following these stages: babbling (6 - 8 months), holophrastic (1 year), two-word phrases (1 - 2 years), and multi-word (2 - 5 years). A person's second language is acquired following these stages: silent receptive or preproduction (6 - 8 months), early production (6 months), speech emergence stage (1 year), and intermediate language proficiency (1 year).
Having an understanding of the Natural Order Hypothesis allows educators to develop an understanding of where their ELL or ESL students may be in regards to their language acquisition. Therefore, by understanding this idea, the teacher may develop lessons that are better suited for the student. This will also assist the teacher in the creation of activities that are completed in the classroom so all students are able to participate. Teachers that are able to connect this concept to their English language learners are also able to assist these students when working in small differentiated instructional groups, and therefore making the learning much more meaningful for these students.
Developing an understanding of Affective Filter Hypothesis will help educators present themselves along with their classroom structure and lesson ideas in a manner that will put their English language learners at ease with the information they are presenting. This will assist these students from creating a filter that could impede learning. Students that are in structured environments with teachers that truly care about their learning maintain a low level of stress, and students are more likely to be motivated and confident, and therefore a lot of language acquisition can take place.
Teachers that have been able to create an environment that focuses around the Affective Filter Hypothesis are able to assist their students in higher levels of language acquisition. Students that are then able to generate a larger level of language acquisition are then able to excel at greater rates within the classroom. The implications of Affective Filter Hypothesis in teaching is eminent in order to assure students are learning. Helping students maintain a low affective filter is an important step in the assurance that students are going to acquire the language skills they need in order to become successful in the classroom.
Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning. Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic 'take for granted' fashion an organizations view of its self and its environment. Culture contains both external and internal elements. External elements of culture contain those such as; food, festivals, holidays, dances and clothing. Internal elements of culture are those such as; values, beliefs and patterns of non-verbal communication. By recognizing the value of Culturally Responsive Teaching, educators are able to show students that they value their culture and therefore will celebrate their heritage in the classroom. This shows students that they are valued as individuals and at the same time could even generate a low Affective Filter.
Culturally Responsive Teaching is important in order to show students that as the teacher, you value where they come from, and wish to celebrate that with the rest of the class. All students should be able to share with each other their culture and heritage. This creates a classroom of culturally responsive students and helps the students understand that their backgrounds are important. Teachers that partake in this pedagogical practice create open and receptive environments where students feel welcome when they enter the classroom.
Lastly, schema and accessing prior knowledge are important factors that can influence learning within the classroom. Schema is the organizational pattern or structure; the conceptual framework that students possess. Teachers that are able to access a student's schema are more likely to be successful in helping that student develop an understanding of the concepts that are being taught. Teachers that are able to understand the implications of schema are then able to apply this knowledge into their classroom and their lessons. By demonstrating to students how different skills build upon one another will assist these students in making connections between one concept and another.
Accessing prior knowledge is way for the students to take what they already know, and then apply that knowledge to the material they are currently learning. Teachers that focus on accessing their students' prior knowledge are more likely to have students that are able to retain information. Being able to access one's prior knowledge is important when working in the area of generating inferences. Being able to make inferences is an extremely important skill when increasing reading comprehension. Being able to apply what one already knows to what the author is implying will help the student in having a greater understanding of ambiguous concepts.
Both schema and accessing prior knowledge are notions that all teachers should implement in their classroom curriculum. Building a student's schema while at the same time having the student access their prior knowledge will foster a greater understanding of the ideas that are being taught in the classroom.
During the duration of these two courses, I was able to develop a greater understanding of these concepts and realize how important they are in being implemented in the classroom on a regular basis. Although these concepts are ideals that I currently posses, these courses have presented additional methods for implementation in order to improve student achievement. I will continue to implement these ideas in my classroom environment with the goal of continued student improvement. Currently, I don't have students in my classroom that are coded as being English language learners, and therefore do not apply the tactics for instructing English language learners in the classroom. However, I have had English language learners in previous classes, and therefore reviewing this information will assist me with the continued implementation of these techniques. The major benefits of these concepts are that they work with all students, and not just those students that are considered to be English language learners.
The immediate result of implementing these ideas in the classroom would be the hope of increased achievement on the behalf of the students. The continued review of these concepts will generate a better understanding of these ideas, and therefore a deeper understanding of how they may be implemented into the classroom structure on a regular and on-going basis, thus having a continued impact on student learning. Long-term effects of the implementation of these ideas will be the long-term understanding of the different notions covered within the classroom. By building on the students' schema, thus increasing the students' prior knowledge will lead to them having a greater retention rate for their future course work.