Friday, November 30, 2012

It's becoming clearer every day that ELL services and the rights of ELL students need to be addressed in a comprehensive way.  So many ELL teachers I meet are discouraged because their support (jobs) have been cut back, or they've been co-opted into becoming reading teachers, content teachers or teachers' aides.  With the frenzy to get all kids performing at grade level on reading and math, ELLs language needs are dismissed in many educational settings.  I recently spoke with two ELL teachers who wanted advice on how to serve the elementary newcomer students that had recently arrived.  They had been instructed to work with them in small groups to develop literacy skills - so the students were learning the alphabet and basic phonics while they still had no clue how to follow directions in the classroom or make new friends.  Of course the ELL teachers knew the students needed direct English instruction but they felt powerless in the situation and were struggling to integrate language while still teaching basic reading skills.   This made me think of how much we need to band together and share our insights on how to advocate for the needs of ELLs.  I'm working with the elementary group in MinneTESOL to begin by defining, "What is an ELL teacher?"   What should we be doing?  Why is it important?  What does it look like?  If anyone has some information to share - I'd love to hear about it.  Comment here or on my new Facebook page dedicated to all things EL Advocacy!

Facebook - ELAdvocacy Network

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