Teaching English As A Second Language Education Essay

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Four Domains of Language

The concept of the four domains of language is interesting because it explains the different types of language used. The receptive language domain is listening and reading because the person is receiving information. The expressive language domain is speaking and writing because the person is expressing information. All four domains are interdependent and the interrelations of these domains are crucial for language development to take place.

Transferrable Skills

The knowledge of transferrable skills and non-transferrable skills is vital information for teachers to know. So many students demonstrate the same patterns of errors due to the similarities or differences of their original language. The phonetic structures that are the same allow students to transfer knowledge easily in some areas, but the areas where there are drastic differences provides difficult situations for students to properly express their knowledge of English.

Different Learning Styles

The theory of multiple intelligences reminds educators about the importance of acknowledging the diversity of students in the way students learn and express their knowledge. Garner identifies eight different intelligences, which are verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, musical/rhythmic, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist learners (Smith, 2008). These types of learning styles are evident in all classrooms, no matter what language the student speaks. Each classroom will probably have a few of each type of learner. It is crucial to remember not to rely only on one style of teaching and learning, but to offer choices and opportunities for personal expression of understanding subject matter.

Differentiating Instruction

Students are all different. It is likely that each student will accomplish different things throughout their lives. No two students will take the same path, nor will they have the exact same interests. When they are older, each student will have a different job that uses skills sets comfortable to them. Ideally, students will get jobs they are good at doing. If teachers do not teach students what they are good at, no one will. The only way to accomplish this is through differentiated instruction.

Teaching Vocabulary

Graves and Watts-Taffe (2002) suggest that there are four parts to an effective vocabulary program. First, students should read frequently using a variety of texts. This increases the amount of vocabulary words learned through context and exposure. Next, use explicit instruction for specific words. Selecting particular words to teach to students in context and through repeated exposure can be an effective way to teach vocabulary. Third, using strategies such as context clues, word part analysis, a variety of reference materials, and identifying patterns and connections between words will increase the amount of words learned. Finally, developing a strong sense of word consciousness is necessary to support vocabulary instruction. These are all important elements to employ when teaching both ELL students and general education students.

Importance of the Five Ideas

These five ideas are important because they are all relevant to what I teach right now. The four domains of language is a nice model to explain to teachers why some students who are fluent English speakers are unable to read or write in the language. I teach language arts to special education students, where many are English Language Learners as well. I find it compelling that the transferrable and non-transferrable skills lead to the patterned errors that my students frequently make. This information gives me insight on what to look for and how to help the students improve their skills. Additionally, differentiating instruction to meet the needs of different learning styles is essential to all classrooms. Lastly, teaching vocabulary to students is critical for them to understand the language.

Three Ideas to be Implemented in the Classroom

Different Learning Styles

The activities of multiple intelligences must be primarily learner centered creating an interactive involvement of the student. Multisensory techniques for visual, aural, and kinesthetic activities need to be used throughout the lesson to engage the student in practice for understanding the skill being taught as they interact with the learning environment. Using flexible grouping, technology, differentiated choices, and plenty of movement will provide a learning environment that gives each student the ability to show what they know.

Differentiating Instruction

Numerous strategies can be used to differentiate in the classroom. For example, depth of content can be altered to meet the needs of the students. Students who are unable to master material at the introductory level of the concept should not be required to continue on to content that is more complex until they understand the foundations. Likewise, students who have mastered the content should not have to wait for others to catch up to them. Using flexible grouping can provide necessary small group instruction to struggling students, while students who are ready to move on can enrich their knowledge using independent activities.

Teaching Vocabulary

One way I explicitly teach vocabulary is to use a personal vocabulary notebook that consists of graphic organizers. My students fill out a five-column chart that has the word, the rating, synonyms and antonyms, the definition, and a picture. Students copy the word into the first column. In the second column, they rate the word using the following scale: a three means they know it and use it, a two means they have heard it but are not sure what it means, and a one means they have never heard it before.

Expectations of Immediate Results

I would expect students to learn at their own pace using differentiated instruction and individual learning styles. Students would have choices of activities to do that would build their language abilities. This would increase their interest in learning and provide successful experiences so they are able to participate in the classroom activities. Teaching vocabulary explicitly builds their confidence when reading and speaking as well as helping them improve their language skills. Moreover, learning many different vocabulary words can lead to learning other similar words.

Expectations of Long-Term Results

For long-term results, I would expect students to improve their language skills in all four domains. Students entering the classroom unable to speak English fluently would be able to speak conversationally and read some English over time. They would be able to build their receptive language skills and apply it to their expressive skills. Using differentiation and the different learning styles of each student, they would be able to learn the material they are ready to learn in a way they can best learn it. Furthermore, explicitly teaching vocabulary to the students will improve their language skills as they learn and apply the words they learn to new situations.