L.A. for ELLs can address two areas: writing and literature. The rules we have in our country for academic writing are often very different in comparison to my students’ countries of origin. Issues of paragraph formation, formatting and plagiarism can be major hurdles for our international student to overcome. A class designed to address this from their point of view is an enormous boon.
In addition to academic writing skills, I use my L.A. for ELLs class to introduce my students to American literature at a reading level conducive to their English language proficiency. (Often, I use Great Illustrated Classics for the pieces of literature that contain an older form of English.)
I teach two years of L.A. for ELLs before I mainstream our international students (if they are on a four-year track.) This provides a strong foundation for them before they work alongside their American classmates. I am very interested to know what you do at your school. Please describe the academic track for your international students in the comments below!
The needs of international learners must be addressed.
This is a big topic and will need more than one blog post to address the issues surrounding an international student program in a private high school setting, but let me get started!
Our international students have academic, social, physical and emotional needs that should be addressed by the organization assisting their time in the U.S.A. That may be an international-study company and the school working together or it may be the school alone.
Some schools partner with organizations that work with the student, family and host family to meet the physical and emotional needs of the student. The school then has the responsibility to address the academic and social life of the student. I’m going to address that scenario briefly in this blog and more extensively in the next two.
One of the main reasons a student comes to the U.S.A. to study in high school is, of course, to improve their English. That being the case, an EFL class is a necessity. English as a Foreign Language will provide the required foreign-language credit required of a student. (I would not recommend placing a Chinese student in a Spanish, French, German, etc. class unless their English is at an advanced level.) This class will provide the support an English language learner needs not only through content instruction, but also through creating an environment in which the student is surrounded by other ELLs. The need for direct instruction, scaffolded lessons, and socially-safe conversational practice is addressed in an EFL class.
I would love to know what kind of curriculum your school uses for your EFL classes and your experiences. Please comment below!
A grammar lesson full of interest, energy and laughter is a joy to a teacher's heart.
You might be teaching about dependent and independent clauses/complex vs. compound sentences…whatever, but sentence #2 will definitely grab the attention of the students.
Sentence #2 could easily turn into an entire series of practice sentences (While Susan was reading her texts, Ralph came and sat next to her. Susan, ignoring Ralph, continued to look at her phone. Taking a deep breath, Ralph opened his mouth to say hello.) Trust me, they will remember Ralph and Susan all year.
Another way to increase interest is to use the students’ names in your sentences of romantic relationships. I created a scenario in which we used sentences about one of my students falling in love and marrying a girl named Betty. We used the Betty story line all year.
The following year students continued the Betty-drama on their own. I couldn’t get them to stop-Betty kept popping up in the sentences my students wrote! I was thrilled! A grammar lesson full of interest, energy and laughter is a joy to a teacher’s heart.
A side note: Violence is also a way to add interest. I don’t condone violence normally, but we’re talking about Looney Tunes-type violence. Inevitably, if my students are writing complex sentences about my student and Betty, Betty will push my student off a mountain. Usually we can “resurrect” my student in another sentence and all is well until he runs over Betty with a garbage truck. I think you get the idea.
My advice: Skip the examples in the books and worksheets and make your own. Give the students a prompt and see what happens. The intrigue of love is guaranteed to alter the interest level your students have in reading, writing, listening and speaking in the target language.
Today I’m providing a tool: the Blends Foldable Bookmark
You can download and customize this book mark for free. The link is provided at the bottom of the page or in the box above.
During a guided reading time, create a blends list. If you create the list with students as you read (rather than prepare the lists ahead of time,) they begin to notice words on their own.
First, as you are reading, point out words to add to a blend list (don’t do too many lists at one time as this can make reading cumbersome and students lose the overall meaning of the text in their search for blends.)
Then, continue pointing out words as the reading continues until they start noticing them independently. It’s a good idea not to interrupt reading in the middle of a sentence. Allow the reader to finish a paragraph or page before stopping to point out blend-words.
The Blends Foldable Bookmark can be kept in the reading book for students to review and practice. After a book is complete, have the students attach their book mark to an interactive journal or take a picture and add it to an electronic notebook.
Of course, not all students exhibit these behaviors, however, keep them in mind. Talk with the student’s friends, host families and even other teachers to help them understand what this transition may look like in an international student.