This Action research project is important in understanding why many English as Second Language students are not great academic achievers in a mainstream classroom. This will help me in understanding and coming up with strategies to use in counteracting the effects of the situation.
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The research project will include an understanding of the problem with the help of the problem statement and consequently, secondary research will be conducted to get a deeper understanding of the issue. Later, primary information will be obtained from the subjects and it will be analyzed using the appropriate tools. Subsequently, relevant recommendations will be made to help address the issue.
Action Research Defined
Action research entails the use of research methods to investigate current problems. Teachers and administrators mainly engage in action research as individuals, or in groups since they are in the process of developing the best local solutions and practices to help students improve their performance. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are applied solely or collectively.
The problem is that many English as Second Language Students are not successful in a mainstream classroom. This is because of various factors that lack in students’ learning environment and more specifically, among immigrant and LEP students.
The support of parents and the community has not been felt thus, this action research proposal calls for both parents to be actively involved in their children’s education process as it plays a critical role in enhancing success and achievement. This action research proposal is intended to take a timeframe of 4 months for the researcher to fully investigate this problem and come up with favorable solutions.
The purpose of this study is to determine whether a specific solution strategy will improve ESL academic status in the regular classroom. Provision of a collaborative home school partnership that educates parents and/or caregivers on different programs, activities and curriculum can help achieve this.
This is achievable through cultivating a positive home school partnership such that the quality and quantity of parental involvement will have a major impact on student achievement.
A survey will be carried out and a customer satisfaction survey questionnaire will be used. The questionnaire aims to obtain the percentage of ESL students who would complete the questionnaire, parents of the ESL students who would complete the questionnaire and the percentage number of students who would get an average score based on an assessment done on them.
This is used to measure the commitment and capability of ESL students with regard to learning as well as parental involvement in their children’s (ESL students) education.
Description of the Community
The community is located on a United States Air Force Base in mainland Japan. There are 310 students enrolled at the elementary school. The ESL population represents 65% of the student body population. The community population is not stable.
Population size has decreased to 35,000 residents as of October 2010 from 45, 000 residents in 2005. The community is committed to the education process of students based on the needs of military installation.
- Apparently, the school district has not realized any upward growth.
- The school district is comprised of 12 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 6 high schools (DODEA Pacific, 2010)
- The student population is approximately 8,520 students (DODEA Pacific, 2010)
- The certified staff is approximately 500 teachers and administrators (DODEA Pacific, 2010)
- The school district’s goals are focused on highest student achievement through continuous improvement (DODEA Pacific, 2010).
The district’s mission statement is “The Department of Defense Education Activity provides, in military communities worldwide, exemplary educational programs that inspire and prepare all students for success in a global environment” (Pacific, 2010). The school district believes that all students can learn if communities were committed to success for all students. (DODEA Pacific, 2010)
The school district emphasizes life-long learning skills in the light of “promoting academic excellence, enhancing social development, fostering emotional well-being, and instilling a passion for lifelong learning” (DODEA Pacific, 2010). The school district encourages community involvement in education. It also supports consistent communication between the involved stakeholders to enhance student development (DODEA Pacific, 2010).
Description of Work Setting
- The research project will take place at one of the 12 elementary schools located in this military community.
- There are 127 ESL students in the elementary school.
- The cultural demographics of intermediate students are 28 White, 20 African Americans, 11 Asian, 2 American Indian/Alaska Native, 30 Multiracial, 12 Hispanic or Latino and 1 Decline.
- 30 ESL students and their parents will be included in the research project.
- Four regular education content area teachers will be included in the research project.
- Two special education teachers and two paraprofessionals will be engaged in this research project.
- The writer holds a B.S. in elementary education.
- The writer has been teaching for 16 years and has taught the present elementary school for 7 years.
- The writer’s role at the school is being a 4th grade teacher, Continuous School Improvement Chairperson, Chair of Assessment Community, Student Council for the 6th year and grade level chair for 5 years.
- The writer is responsible for coordinating individual educational plans for all ESL students in the classroom.
- The writer consults with ESL and with special educators experiencing problems in inclusive settings.
- The writer is responsible for ongoing collaboration with the sub-targeted community to support revisions of interventions to ensure student learning is taking place.
Study of the Problem
The problem is that many English as Second Language (ESL) students are not academic achievers in a mainstream classroom. When children with varying comprehending ability in as far as English is concerned are placed in the same classroom, it is obvious that they will not succeed or gain academic excellence in the same way. This is case with ESL students.
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In the first place, their skills with regard to reading and writing English may not be good compared to their speaking skills. When they are put in the same class with native English speakers, it only means that the ESL students will be left out. The ESL students are students with special needs related to the English language and need extra attention away from the mainstream classroom.
ESL students are lacking the complete understanding of the English language yet; English is the main language in overseas universities especially in the United States. When these students are put in a mainstream classroom without any special consideration, they suffer amidst native English speakers as they do not understand the lessons, which are conducted in English.
English is simple at the surface but when it comes to reading and writing, it can be tricky because it requires the proper use of nouns, tenses, verbs and one ought to pronounce and spell words correctly. As a result, it becomes a complex subject which the ESL students may find difficult to understand. Low scores have been realized for formative and summative English.
The ESL students will mainly have lower scores and based on the ‘No Child Left Behind’ program as discussed above, schools with ESL students where scores are low will not receive adequate funding. As a result, there is lack of an appropriate work force to support the ESL students in terms of diversity, quality and quantity. It has been said that there are few teachers in general to meet the needs of ESL students and more so, content-teachers are limited.
The erosion of cultural values is another thing that has contributed to the poor performance of ESL students. The example of the Chinese society shows this.
Previously, children had it within themselves the obligation of succeeding in school because this was a show of love, devotion and respect for their parents. Now, with the penetration of western cultural values, this has been diluted and currently, ESL students who are mainly immigrants from other countries and who, English is not their native language, do not consider academic success as a show of devotion and love for their parents any more.
It is therefore clear that ESL students’ poor academic performance is as a result of complexity of the English language and yet, there is an inadequate workforce to meet the special needs of ESL students. In addition, there is limited financial support in schools with a high number of ESL students due to low scores.
I believe that ESL students should not be classified in the same way as native English speakers. Alternatively, special teachers to cater for their special needs should be made available.
- Thirty of the 30 ESL students are unable to complete their homework.
- Twenty of the 30 ESL students are unable to work independently on class work.
- Twenty of the 30 ESL students spend at least 120 minutes of services with the ESL teacher weekly.
- Twelve of the 30 students participate in full inclusion classes with support from the ESL teacher.
- Only three of the 30 ESL students scored in the average range for their grade level on the summative assessment.
- Nineteen of the 30 ESL students scored between 25% and 50% on the summative assessment.
- Seven of the 30 ESL students were not eligible for summative assessment.
- Two of the 30 ESL students fell below the 10% on the summative assessment.
According to the current law, every parent has a role to play in the education of his or her child. The child should be provided with adequate and meaningful opportunities to enable him or her experience academic achievement. Community representatives are also part of this very imperative process. Thereby, they are able to liaise with educators and
- Come up with an education plan that indicates how the LEA, SEA and individual schools would enhance social, academic and emotional growth of students.
- Mould Title I services that entail policies and school practices that encourage meaningful involvement of parents to support student achievement.
DoDEA also supports the view that parents play a crucial role with regard to the Department of Defense Education Activity’s (DoDEA’s) mission to provide excellent education that prepares students and triggers them to succeed in a dynamic and global environment. The community is also believed to have a role to play in the success of this mission as well.
‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB) has used more than ten various roles to show how parents and/or community delegates are involved in the education process. Some of these roles include:
- Advising and recommending
- Evaluating and reviewing plans
- Consults the state and local school districts in a systematic style
- Will liaise with other partners to support the education process
The NCLB calls for community and parents to get involved in their children’s education through consultation. Consultation requirements take place on various levels, which include: “federal, state and local district levels” (NCLB Action Briefs). Parents and community representatives are then selected to advise the NCLB committee accordingly.
The various involvement and consultation roles made available by the NCLB have not been specifically defined in the statute. Therefore, the PEN and NCPIE makes recommendations for community members and parents, asking them to take advantage of every chance there is in involvement as talked about by the law. The various areas where parents and community members are involved include: “limited literacy, limited English proficiency and disabilities” (NCLB Action Briefs).
Title I, Part C, section 1304 (c) (c) (3); Section 1306 (a) (1) (B) of the NCLB Action Briefs dictates that “the comprehensive plan for this program must be developed in collaboration with parents of migratory children”. This way, the program sees to it that the needs of immigrant students are met. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the needs of ESL/LEP students continue to be unmet (NCLB Action Briefs).
The issue of LEP is highly factored in, in the ‘NCLB Action Briefs’ but the reason why it remains unresolved is unclear. Under section 3113 (b) and 1116 (b) (4 & 5) of this Brief, language instruction for LEP has been discussed with regard to supporting the LEP students.
The state is expected to show that it consulted with the parents, school districts, teachers, education-related community groups and non-profit organizations, researchers and school administrators in the process aimed at assisting LEP students develop state achievement.
School districts or entities applying for funds under the NCLB program are expected to produce a description of how they intend to support parental and community engagement in LEP students’ programs.
Teachers, parents, researchers and administrators, and when convenient, nonprofit organizations and community groups should be consulted during the development of any plan affecting the LEP students as per the NCLB program (NCLB Action Briefs).
The outlook and voice of public schools had abruptly taken a new turn in most parts of America within 30 years since 1979 (Brock, 2009). There are several aspects of education that have been modified within the recent years for example “classroom dynamics, teaching methods and pedagogy and the student body” (Brock, 2009).
Based on Brocks experience, there has been an escalating focus on meeting the needs of immigrant students, and those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in many schools of America. LEP students in comparison with the emphasis of most teacher-preparation programs, require special techniques and methodologies during teaching.
The highly held perception is that meeting the needs of LEP students is a great challenge. According to the current situation, LEP students’ needs are not met and mainly their linguistic needs.
The reason for this is that the high rate of immigration was unexpected and with the inadequate funds alongside improperly trained teachers, little can be done for the LEP students. The results of these unmet needs are anti-socialism, high school dropout rates and academic failure.
The problems affecting LEP students are more obvious and capable of producing harm, when in secondary schools. LEP or immigrant students have less time to adapt in a new community. In addition, they lack adequate time to obtain necessary life skills required in enabling to be productive members of the society they are in.
The short-content classes that form part of the academic structure in secondary schools do not provide the LEP students with a favorable learning environment. Another evident issue is that funds, which are set aside for LEP programs, are distributed unequally to elementary schools.
The United States has a long history of immigration and despite this long history, only a few of the mainstream institutions have come into direct terms with the importance of demographic change that is immigration-driven. Subsequently, this has had a great role to play in modifying their policies and programs.
The needs of immigrant children are rarely met and rarely discussed in debates (Ruis de Velasco, Chu & Fix, 2001). The consistent rise and fall of percentages of immigrant and LEP students is accompanied by changes in policies aimed at catering for their needs and rights. Unfortunately, the changed policies are not fully understood by parents, students and teachers. In addition, they do not represent the LEP students’ immediate needs.
Using English Language Learners (ELL) student data where information of various states in 2000-01 is available, the National Education Association has found out that the main languages are Spanish and Asian languages. 400 languages were said to have been spoken by ESL students across the United States.
Studies carried out in the past have indicated that immigrant students are higher academic achievers than their native peers in schools. However, some subpopulations like the Mexicans and Central American Students have continued to lag behind a great deal. There is a high likelihood that LEP students may have missed adequate schooling while in their native countries hence the evident illiteracy associated with their native language.
Others may have never had exposure to English; their oral proficiency may not be compared to their reading and writing skills as they lag behind their classmates with regard to the latter. These students are better referred to as long-term LEPs (Ruiz de Velasco et al., 2000).
Public schools encounter various challenges related to instructing LEP students. One, there are no teachers and especially trained teachers. Secondly, there are few content teachers, who can effectively communicate with the LEP students. The unequal distribution of funds between secondary and elementary schools is yet another great challenge.
While elementary schools are given adequate funding to cater for the needs of the LEP students, secondary schools miss out on this thus cannot offer substantial assistance to the LEP students.
Title I is a special program that is supported by the federal targeted assistance via the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Ruis-de-Velasco et al., 2000 cited in Brock, 2009). This ensures that all children have an equal, fair and significant chance to get high-quality education (US department of Education, 2009).
The Title I program among such related programs is imperative to LEP or immigrant students. However, they are not typically present in secondary schools since elementary schools have got a high probability of receiving Title I funds. The highly likely places where LEP and immigrant students are mainly found are the high-poverty schools.
The lack of funds makes it impossible for these high-poverty schools to have the capacity of educating either the LEP or those students who English is their native language. The ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB) program is a disadvantage to LEP students because it funds schools with high scores based on standardized tests that are designed for English speaking students.
In the whole of the United States, only 2.5 % of teachers with ELL students had made prior preparation to with these students by the year 2002. 84% of states were the only ones offering English as a Second Language or ESL certification or endorsement; only 50% offered bilingual language certification or endorsement (National Education Association 2005).
Only 12.5 % out of 41% teachers in the whole of the US engaged themselves in more than eight hours of professional development so as to assist the LEP students between 1999 and 2001. Less than 8% of teachers in seven states reported that they had engaged themselves in more than eight hours of LEP-specific professional development.
More than one third (41%) of teachers apparently were teaching LEP students. The fact as reported by the US Department of Education is that, “addressing the needs of limited English proficient students”, is an area of professional development in which teachers are reluctant to engage in (National Center for Education Statistics, 2009).
A huge challenge experienced by secondary LEP students is due to isolation of language development teachers alongside breaking down a day into 50-minute periods. These two factors militate against instructions meant for specific individuals by setting barriers to integration of language and content.
The short periods are seen to lack continuity which is very important in promoting sustained, comprehensive and interactive guidance and instruction as required by LEP secondary students. The lack of curriculum standards to govern the education of the LEP students leaves the individual content-area teachers to determine the kinds of instructional methods to use and what content they will cover (Ruiz-de-Velasco et al., 2000).
There is a high drop-out rate of LEP students in secondary schools due to lack of adequate funds required to finance the education and needs of these students so that they can be great academic achievers. The immigration status is used in checking the drop-out rates. Foreign-born children tend to drop out of secondary school more than children born in the United States but with foreign-born parents.
In 2005, 24% of foreign-born students between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out of secondary school. This was in comparison with 16% of students with foreign-born parents that had dropped out during the same time.
All in all, the general dropout rates for both kinds of immigrant students are higher than for the national average. Foreign-born students account for 11% of the entire student population yet they make up 29% of the drop-out population (Child Trends Data Bank, 2003).
The dropout rate for Hispanic immigrants was 23% while that of Asian immigrants was 3% as indicated by Callahan in 2005. As of 1995, the dropout rate for the first, second and third Mexican generations, was twice that of the national average.
Complex political, social and cultural factors are responsible for the differences in dropout rates between the Hispanic and the Asian immigrants.
The most patent fact is that the needs of LEP students are not being met in American public schools due to an array of reasons which include “educational policy, limited funds and resources, inadequate teacher training and lack of preparedness for LEP students within schools” (Brock, 2009).
These kinds of students are getting into the practical world without the correct and appropriate skills and tools. Programs designed to meet the needs for LEP students are not consistent, lack proper structuring and are not effective. It is a necessity that a total restructure of public education for LEP students at all levels is done.
The success and achievement of a student is not guaranteed or automatic. Such an outcome requires proper planning, action and consistent evaluation. An example of such a plan is that of DoDEA whose mission is to “provide an exemplary education that inspires and prepares all students for success in a dynamic, global environment” (DoDEA 2009, 3).
In order to achieve there are various goals set in place to ensure that this mission is achieved in the long run and that every student experiences success and achievement.
Included in DoDEA’s goals is that “all students should meet or exceed challenging standards in academic content so that they are prepared for continuous learning”.
It is obvious that this does not factor in the LEP and immigrant students. In any feasibility test, it would not augur well if students of varying abilities are exposed to the same challenge. Each student should be exposed to unique challenges that will help him or her become a better individual. They should not be used as a means to frustrate and disappoint. Other goals of the DoDEA include:
- DoDEA will make use of “performance-driven management systems and which will operate in a timely, equitable and efficient manner” (DoDEA 2009, 4). “Allocation of resources and decision making will be placed at the lowest operational level and there will be creation of a safe environment that is appropriate for optimum student achievement” (DoDEA 2009, 4).
- Motivation of DoDEA’s workforce characterized by diversity would be guaranteed so that it is committed to professional growth and development that supports success and achievement of students.
- Communications and partnerships would be developed, promoted and maintained to ensure student development.
Parents are key figures in their children’s education according to DoDEA’s community strategic plan. They can greatly help in enabling their children become high achievers. The first teacher in a child’s life is the parent. In addition, the child will trust the [aren’t more than the teacher. It is therefore very important for parents to promote continuous learning at home.
Before a child enters school, a parent is faced with the responsibility of introducing and teaching the child basic skills such as letter and number recognition. Reading interesting books to a child as a parent fosters literacy. It is the parent’s role to monitor the child’s academic progress on a consistent basis throughout the year.
Programs such as GradeSpeed will be of great help in enabling the parent keep current with assessments, curriculum and homework assignments. The reason why a parent is involved in this way is so that he or she can point out areas which he or she feels that her child is missing on.
A parent should make sure that a safe and conducive environment is available for his or her child. School rules and understanding the importance of education are important while ensuring a safe and conducive environment for the child as a parent. School rule protect the child from engaging in bad behavior.
Comprehension of the importance of education instills within the child a desire to succeed and with such a perception, the child is safe from bad influence as he or she fully understands his or her role as student.
ESL/LEP students may feel left out when in mainstream class as they may be experiencing difficulties trying to fully comprehend English. The support of a parent in this situation and making the child understand that he or she can make it despite the present odds is very important.
A child needs to understand that he or she should go an extra mile to ensure that he or she understands that which was unclear in class by reading more and engaging in more research. If teachers fail to support the LEP/ESL students, making the child understand his or her role as a student will enable him or her perform his or her role as a student in a diligent manner.
According to a study carried out by Lee & Morrish (2010), Chinese parents were considered to play a significant role in as far decision making of their children was concerned. The role of Chinese parenting in the students’ lives is influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist.
According to Confucius, there is a need to teach a child how to be competent and responsible in every aspect of life including education (Shek, 2006). The concept of filial piety is the one that governs a child’s devotion to his or her parents in the Chinese world. The parent on the other hand demonstrates love and devotion through control and discipline.
However, the western values have infringed into this society and this trend has been diluted. The result is that parents fail to participate in their children’s lives and the children on the other hand fail to show responsibility and competence as a sign of devotion to their parents. The end result of it all, are the low scores that are normally evident among the LEP and immigrant students.
All in all, education is considered as a ticket to a bright future; both for the family and the child amongst the Chinese society. If a child fails academically, the whole family takes up the failure and greatly empathizes with the child who has failed. Lack of parental involvement in a child’s education is the main reason why the LEP students achieve low scores as the parents are not getting involved in their children’s education.
An exploratory study conducted by Ji & Koblinsky, 2009 reported minimal involvement of Chinese immigrant parents in their children’s elementary and secondary education. “29 low-income urban parents working in the hospitality sector and with their children in public schools participated in this study” (Ji & Koblinsky, 2009).
Interviews were conducted on the parents pertaining to “academic expectations, parent involvement, knowledge of school performance and barriers to involvement” (Ji & Koblinsky, 2009). Reports of high academic expectations were evident but only 50% of the parents had information about their children’s school performance.
Around 35% of the parents took part in parent-teacher conferences, 14% assisted their children with homework while another 10% had agreed to become volunteers in the schools where their children attended. There was no parent who was noted as taking part in community collaborations or school decision making processes. Reason being limited English and involving work schedules which acted as the main barriers.
There are a number of reasons why elementary students are not successful in the mainstream classroom and not showing continuous progress on a year-to-year basis.
ESL students struggle with completing homework and class work independently
Lack of fully understanding the assignment
ESL students are expected to learn English and content-subjects where English is used in disseminating information at the same time. This is a very challenging situation for ESL students as they have to understand English and English-taught content at the same time.
Lack of back ground knowledge to complete the task
ESL students are learning thus, the probability that they lack background information is plausible since learning English is a task in itself. The fact that they do not fully comprehend English may be accompanied by a lack of background knowledge in handling a task that has been dictated in English.
Lack of understanding vocabulary
English is a complex subject and has got an array of fields pertaining to the language. English vocabulary requires one to have an excellent understanding of the language as it may difficult to understand an English statement where English vocabulary has been applied. This is much difficult for the ESL students who are yet to fully comprehend all the basics entailed in the English language.
Lack of basic study strategies
It is overwhelming to learn English and content subjects at the same time and especially for ESL students. This may bring about confusion as one is unable to figure out the kind of study strategies to adopt in helping him or her handle both at the same time.
ESL students are not successful on formative and summative assessments
Students have little to no support at home
Parental involvement in education has been found to be a very imperative aspect of student academic achievement. Parents have a great role to play in as far as brining up their children is concerned; their support and guidance counts a lot. ESL students are in need of parental support to help them face the challenges they go through in learning English and English based content-subjects.
Students reading levels are below grade level
ESL students are new to the English language. Therefore, their reading and writing skills are expected to be below average despite the fact that they may have great speaking skills. ESL students should create more time for learning English. This way, they can understand the English language better and will be more equipped in handling content-based subjects.
Classroom teachers do not modify the curriculum and/or teaching methods to meet the needs of ESL students
Classroom teachers are not familiar with the different cultures of the ESL students
Parental involvement is very important in education and DoDEA has made sure to include this as one of their goals that will help ESL students gain higher scores. Parental involvement in the school committee, education activities makes it possible for teachers and administrators to understand the different cultures related to the ESL students they have.
This way, they can know how to help these students in the most efficient manner. However, this is not the case as most parents are not involved in the education process of their children. The western values have largely contributed to this as is the case with the Chinese society (Ji & Koblinsky, 2009).
Classroom teachers are reluctant to participate in co-teaching
The lack of adequate funding has greatly affected the time teachers are willing to spend in classrooms. That is why mainstream classrooms have been used despite the varying abilities of the students. Teachers are not willing to have special time for the ESL students in what can be called ‘co-teaching’. Therefore, the needs of ESL continue to be unmet hence the low scores.
Classroom teachers are not communicating effectively with parents
The lack of parental involvement makes it impossible for the teachers and parents to engage in objective communication aimed at helping ESL students become high academic achievers. Parents and teachers are the ones who can help the ESL students best if only they would get into consistent communication. ESL students may withdraw themselves due to a lack of a sense of belonging.
Classroom teachers are not collaborating with ESL teachers
This lack of collaboration leads to lack of sharing information related to the students. As a result, classroom teachers and the ESL teachers do not work as a team hence, learning objectives will not be met the way they ought to.
Lack of collaboration between the classroom teachers and ESL teachers will not help in understanding the students better hence; they will not come up with better ways of assisting these students.
Classroom teachers are not implementing interventions recommended by the sub-targeted community
Interventions are made so as to address a particular situation hence assist in making the situation better. Lack of implementation of such interventions only means that the situation will only get worse or become unattended. The lack of implementation of interventions by classroom teachers does not address the needs of ESL students as proposed.
Subsequently, the ESL students continue to suffer as there is no one to help gain academic excellence. They continue to get low grades since their problems remain unresolved and may become worse with each assign day.
Parents are not aware of the legal rights of ESL students
NCLB Action Briefs, Community and Parent Decision-Making: A Review
Action to this review, the needs of every student, including the immigrant and ESL students should be met. The lack of parental involvement in decision making process related to their children’s education is associated with a lack of information on the legal rights of ESL students. This way, the ESL students cannot fight for their rights to have their education met as they do not know what they are legally entitled to as ESL students.
ESL students are not successful because of lack of parental support
Cultural differences for all stakeholders
Lack of parental involvement in child education leads to lack of understanding one another since the ESL students are from different parts of the world hence have got different cultural values which may not conform with the education activities of the school they are in.
That is why it is very important for ESL parents to become involved in all aspects that pertains t their children’s education as this is the only way through which the teachers can understand these students better and be better placed in as far as providing them with assistance is concerned.
However, for as long as parents refrain from getting involved in their children’s education, ESL students will continue to become low achievers as no one understands them and their needs.
English is a complex language. ESL students are in the process of learning this language but due to their involvement in content-based subjects, they fail to put much effort in learning the language. As a result they experience a lot of difficulties in education at large as the fundamental aspect of all the content-based subjects is learning the English language, which they assume.
Outcomes and Analysis
The goal is to provide a collaborative home school partnership that educates parents and/or caregivers on different programs, activities and curriculum. This aims at enabling parents and/or caregivers of their crucial role in as far education of their children is concerned. Through cultivating a positive home school partnership the quality and quantity of parental involvement will have a major impact on student achievement.
Parents should become more involved in their children’s education.
Parents of migratory children are consulted with regard to the needs of their children so that the needs of LEP/ESL students are catered for.
Effective communication is realized between all the concerned stakeholders in as far education of all students is concerned notwithstanding the prevailing cultural differences and language barriers.
No more than 25 of the 30 (75%) ESL students will complete the DODEA Student Customer computer-based survey.
No more than 30% of the district parents will complete the Customer Satisfaction Survey.
No more that 14 of the 30 (45%) ESL students will score in the average range of the summative assessment.
No more that 18 of the 30 (54%) ESL students will complete technology based assignment.
No more than 25 of the 30 (75%) ESL students will complete technology based reading summative assessments.
Measurement of Outcomes (subheading): 1-2 pages
|Measurement of Outcomes||Analysis of Outcomes|
|This is the number of students taking the online DODEA student survey.||Chi-Square|
|This is the total percentage of parents in the Japan district completing the online survey.||Chi-Square|
|This is the number of ESL students taking the summative assessment that scored in the average range.||Percentile Rank|
|This is the number of ESL students receiving services that complete homework daily.||Correlation|
|This is the number of ESL students taking a variety of bi-weekly summative assessments across the curriculum.||Percentile Rank|
Analysis of Results
The Department of Defense Schools (2006-09) website provides an executive summary sharing the findings of the Customer Satisfaction Survey for school years 2006-2010 of the survey.
This data will be compared using the chi-square statistical procedure to compare the participation of ESL parents and students. “The parent Customer The report reveals that only 30% of the district parents completed the survey. Survey will indicate that no more than 75% of the 4th grade ESL population had a favorable opinion of Yokota West Elementary School (YWES).”
According to Department of Defense Schools (2010), “Only 75% of the ESL student population will complete the technology based reading summative assessments” (Yokota West Elementary 2005-2010 TerraNova, para. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). “The correlation statistical procedure will be used to measure effectiveness of the school wide intervention and ESL students” (Pearson SuccessNet, 2010, para. ).
The problem is many English as Second Language students are not successful in a mainstream classroom.
How the use of computer in the classroom impacts the learning of English as a Second Language for learners
An appropriate infusion of computer technology is something which the United States has put into great consideration. It was in 2002 when President George Bush signed the NCLB Act and it became law.
The improvement in academic learning whereby students achieved higher grades through the use of technology was accompanied by the announcement of the new “Enhancing Education through Technology” (ED Tech) initiative. This initiative was instigated by Rod Paige, the former U. S. Secretary of Education, shortly after the NCLB act was signed. The ED Tech goals are to:
I. Ensure students improve their academic performance by using technology in schools.
II. Help students so that they become computer literate.
III. Make sure that teachers properly integrate computer technology into the curriculum to improve student achievement. The use of computers in secondary and elementary schools was approved by the “State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and educators were asked to meet the following requirements as outlined by the SBEC” (Lu, 2006, 159):
- Every teacher was asked to use “technology-related concepts, data input strategies, terms, and ethical practices to make informed choices about up-to-date technologies and their applications.
- Every teacher is expected to “identify task requirements, apply search strategies and make use of up-to-date technology to efficiently analyze, acquire and evaluate various kinds of electronic information” (Lu, 2006, 159).
- Every teacher should use “appropriate tools relevant for the task so as to create knowledge and solutions, modify solutions and evaluate the end results in a manner that enhances the work of individuals and groups in solving problems” (Lu, 2006, 159).
- Every teacher should pass information across using different formats for diverse audiences
- Every teacher should “plan, organize, deliver and organize instruction” to cater for the needs of all students by incorporating into the curriculum, the effective use of computer knowledge in teaching and integrating Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) (Lu, 2006, 159).
The exploratory study of barriers that affect the use of Computer Aided Learning for Language (CALL) programs in ESL instructions makes recommendations on how this problem can be handled. To start with, using CALL should be incorporated with multimedia and should involve offline experiences that will enable students become immersed in language.
Inflection and connotation are types of language nuances that are not learnt with the help of a computer. Elements of culture are necessary in the completion of the entire language learning experience and will complement the correctness and academic aspect of language.
The teaching and learning process makes use of human interaction, which requires a combined effect while using technology. Combining web-based classes and traditional teaching programs is an effective way of teaching ESL (Lu, 2006, 162).
IV. Kennedy & Scott (2005), “investigates the effects of music therapy techniques on the story retelling and speaking skills of ESL students in middle school”
According to this prospective study where pretest and post-test data was used, “an investigation of the effects of music techniques on story retelling and speaking skills of ESL middle schools students was done” (Kennedy & Scott, 2005).
34 middle school Hispanic students with ages between 10 and 12 in both high and low functioning groups took part in this study which took a period of 12 weeks. There were significant statistical differences between the pretest and post-test data.
Different music therapy techniques that included “music and movement, active music listening, group chanting and singing, musical games, rhythmic training, music and sign language, and lyric analysis and rewrite activities as supplemental activities to the ESL goals and objectives” (Kennedy & Scott, 2005).
Based on the results, all students in experimental groups achieved higher scores when compared with control groups, with regard to story retelling skills notwithstanding the placement of high and low functioning groups. Comparisons done on a monthly basis on both high and low functioning experimental groups have also showed substantial progress in English speaking skills.
V. According to Paeplow and Braenen (2006) “designed a comprehensive program of three approaches to improve ESL student achievement (p.).
ESL students are faced by two main challenges. They need to become English literate while at the same time, they are required to gain content knowledge across various subject areas. Therefore, a targeted ESL curriculum that will guide these students from elementary to high school is necessary. This curriculum will stretch to allow extra learning time and opportunities in order to practice as a way of overcoming barriers related to English language acquisition.
The use of Plato® Achievve Now program in schools shows statistical significant achievement gain for ESL students. ESL students at elementary and junior high school levels have experienced academic achievement in reading and mathematics local assessments. Academic achievement has also been realized in high stake tests.
The Plato® Achieve Now program has partly contributed to the students’ achievement as it engages students in educational gaming while pointing out to the three critical needs that are very vital to the success of ESL programs. These are “more time for learning, more parental involvement and motivation of students” (Paeplow and Braenen, 2006).
More learning time is accounted for in using the classroom, programs prevailing after school and after summer as well as parental involvement. Parental involvement is a key aspect that makes a large contribution in as far as successful ESL programs are concerned.
Parents who are well informed about their children’s education are able to support them and help them apply concepts in real life situations. The delivery of PLATO Achieve Now on PlayStation® 2 game consoles, students are able to aces the curriculum from home and this is associated with multiple benefits which include:
- Accessing instructions thus eliminating the gap between the computer haves and have-nots.
- Increasing time on learning
- Increasing family literacy since the family will assist the students in doing assignments
VI. There are major difficulties that arise in scaling-up efforts, specifically with regard to students’ linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity in elementary school science. Grounded in the instructional congruence framework, Lee & Luykx, 2005 makes known the challenges facing schools and teachers in making explicit explanations about science disciplines with nonmainstream students’ linguistic and cultural experiences. Promotion of English language and literacy is also enhanced. Rigorous attention to such challenges is required as it will help make scaling up of educational interventions more effective. In addition, it will help in resolving the impasses around the question of what makes up “best policies and practices” applicable for diverse student groups (Lee & Luykx, 2005).
Selected Solution Strategies / Calendar Plan
- Provide data supporting the need for implementation of a parent involvement strategic plan.
- Develop an effective parental involvement program with input from all stakeholders.
- Include parents and/or caregivers as representatives on school boards that have a major impact on policy-making decisions that govern the school.
- Design efficient ways to communicate with parents and/or caregivers recognizing language barriers and cultural differences.
- Quarterly evaluate the program and revise components as deemed necessary to continue a successful partnership.
- Establish a workshop for parent involvement training through staff development.
- Document parent involvement practices into the governance component of the continuous school improvement process.
- Create a parent education program to assist parents and/or caregivers in understanding the curriculum to support classroom learning.
|2.5 hours||Sub-Targeted Group |
|30 mins.||Sub-Targeted Group |
|15 mins.||Faculty Meeting: |
|All Day||Parent Center Team Meeting |
|All Day||Sub-Targeted Group |
|Family night||Open House |
|1hour||Education Night |
|½ day||Parent Teacher Conference|
|1 hour||SmartBoard Training |
|Professional Development/Faculty Meeting: |
|Professional Development |
|Professional Development/Faculty Meeting: |
|Professional Development |
|Professional Development |
|½ day||Professional Development |
|Professional Development/Faculty Meeting: |
The problem is that many English as Second Language students are not successful in a mainstream classroom. The objective of this action research project is to assist ESL students become high achievers. This can be achieved through collaborative efforts between teachers and administrators in school and the parents. This way, parental involvement is enhanced.
It was expected that less than 75% of ESL students would complete the DoDEA Student Customer computer-based survey. According to the Department of Defense schools report, only 75% of the ESL students took part in this survey thus the expected outcome was achieved.
Less than 30% of the district parents were expected to complete the Customer Satisfaction Survey. 30% of the parents took part in the customer satisfaction survey thereby falling within the expected outcome. Subsequently, the objective pertaining to the expected outcome was met.
Less than 45% of ESL students would get an average score in their summative assessment. The Department of Defense Schools report (2010) shows that indeed less than 45% of ESL students achieved an average score in their summative assessment. This is within the expected outcome hence the objective was met.
Less than 54% of ESL students were expected to complete the technology based assignment. Less than 75% of the ESL students were expected to complete technology based reading summative assessments. Apparently, these two expected outcomes were met thus meeting the set objectives with regard to the two expected outcomes.
The completion of the customer survey questionnaire in the year 2008-09 shows an escalation in participation of parents in completing the questionnaire. However, the general response rate of the parents is still very low hence, the call for parental involvement in the education of their children.
The lack of total parental involvement can be said to be in part, responsible for the large number of students scoring below average in summative assessment. The use of technology is shown to play a considerably important role in the performance of the ESL students.
More than fifty percent of the ESL students have completed their technology based assignments and technology based reading summative assessments.
The expected outcomes in as far as completing the customer satisfaction survey questionnaire is concerned were achieved, mainly because of the small number of ESL students and limited involvement of parents in the school curriculum. The range of ESL students expected to complete the customer satisfaction questionnaire is reasonable while considering the limited number of ESL students which is thirty.
The reason why few ESL students attain an average score in the average summative assessment is because of the unmet ESL students’ needs in a mainstream class. The expected outcomes are achievable in this particular school because the researcher is well conversant with the surrounding of the school hence it is easy to make a prejudgment.
Future research should include various schools with ESL students so as to get objective results. In addition, this will increase the number of participants (sample) and this way, an objective outcome will be obtained. Future research needs to look at how culture affects the academic performance of ESL students. Culture is something that is not highly valued in our modern world. It would therefore be an interesting topic that would view people’s perceptions with regard to culture and how it affects the education of ESL students.
This information will be disseminated in the form of an article so that the students, school districts, parents and the community at large can get to know about the problems faced by ESL students and how their performance can be improved.
The solutions developed in this research projected need to be implemented if student achievement is to be enhanced. The parental involvement program is necessary as a means of mobilizing all parents to take get involved in their children’s education as that if a very critical aspect of learning, which is normally lacking in the education of the students.
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