Teachers must understand the language proficiency needs of ELLs in a classroom to effectively plan and differentiate instruction. Identifying student social and academic language needs, as well as learning exceptionalities, allows for teachers to prepare appropriate lessons and supports to meet student-specific needs.
Arrange the clinical field experience for this course in an inclusive K-8 school setting that services at least one ELL in which you can collaborate with a certified teacher mentor.
Prior to the clinical field experience, review the requirements of all clinical field experiences for this course. Create a document to share with your teacher mentor detailing these requirements and what is being requested of the teacher mentor. This document should include the scheduling required to complete all assignments.
Allocate at least 3 hours in the field to support this field experience.
Part 1: Mentor Interview and Classroom Observations
Spend at least one hour interviewing your mentor about district practices, school resources, and their instructional practices for ELLs. In your interview, discuss the following questions:
How does your school district determine the language proficiency placement needs of ELLs? Is there a different protocol used for existing versus incoming students?
What methods does your school district use to distinguish ELLs versus students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia? How does your school determine if an ELL has a learning disability?
What are your observations of the social and academic language of the ELLs in your classroom?
How does an ELL’s language proficiency level influence their classroom habits, behaviors, and academic progress?
How do student language proficiency needs inform your lesson plans, activities, and student group configurations?
What speaking and listening instructional strategies do you find to be most effective with ELLs? How do you differentiate the strategies to support all language proficiency levels in your classroom?
How do you scaffold vocabulary instruction to support ELLs?
Does your school use a purchased content area curriculum for students or did the district create the curriculum? Do you find the curriculum meets the needs of ELLs in your district?
Do you use any supplementary resources to support ELLs in your class?
In addition to your interview, spend at least two hours observing the instructional practices of your mentor. As you observe, focus on the oral language and oral language patterns of the ELLs and evaluate the students’ use of social/academic language, their interactions with their peers, and their interactions with the teacher.
Use any remaining field experience hours to provide support or assistance to the class as directed by your mentor.
Part 2: Reflection of Social Versus Academic Language
Using what you have learned from your mentor interview and classroom observation, write a 500-750 word reflection on the importance of social versus academic language in the classroom. In your reflection include:
An overview of the distinctions between social versus academic language and how they can impact ELLs
District, school, and teacher protocols for ELL language proficiency placement and classroom support
Oral language challenges that ELLs face in the field experience classroom
Effective methods of differentiated instruction for varied ELL language proficiencies in one class
Speaking and listening instructional strategies and classroom activities that support ELLs in both social and academic language
Reference findings from your mentor interview and classroom observations explicitly within your reflection.
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