Charter and public schools in the United States of America are facing a myriad of challenges stemming from external and internal pressure. Externally, both public and charter schools are required to perform well during examinations. Anderson and Holder (2012) carried out a longitudinal study to investigate the ten years annual reports of the two local charter schools in the United States of America.
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The study utilized information from various sources, such as document analyses, site visits along with various and numerous interviews. The findings of this study revealed that the two schools under study received a lot of feedback regarding its administration, curriculum and evaluation.
CER (Center for education reform) describes a charter school as an innovative public school that is accountable to pupils/students outcomes as well as developed into offer programs that are modified to meet the desires or needs of the community they serve. In the year 1992, a first charter school was opened in the city of Saint Paul within the state of Minnesota.
Presently, there are at least 4,100 charter schools in the United States of America, which accommodate more than 1.2 million students (Bailey, 2009).
The District of Columbia and 42 states in the U.S. have laws, which are associated with the charter school. In every charter school, there is a board of governors that are responsible for making critical decision in regards to the school. Besides, there are also sponsors in charter schools who play an integral role in monitoring as well as approving application to ensure that there is success in this school.
Statement of the Problem
The core reason why charter schools were initiated was to increase the academic option in the public school system. Peebles (2004) defines curriculum as the entire issues that take place within the school. They include interpersonal link, guidance, extracurricular activities as well as academic work.
Peebles further points out that curriculum entails cultural dissonance, academic expectation of the parents, teachers’ support as well as experience in addition to instructional leadership. Peebles carried out a case study to examine four issues associated with curriculum in the Marblehead charter school.
The issues explored included cultural dissonance, academic expectation, teacher training and experience as well as instructional leadership. Peebles also asserts that, in order for the charter schools to develop, they must move via various critical stages. These stages encompass pre-operational phase, operational phase as well as institutional operational stage.
As pointed out by Anderson and Holder (2012), operational and pre-operational activities have the capacity to impede the opening of charter schools and as such, great focus should be directed to them in the course of the beginning phases of the charter schools development. The director of Marblehead charter school placed more focus on the survival of the school, such as curriculum development, development as well as staff and instruction supervision.
Background of the Problem
The desire to perform well is putting a lot of pressure on both, charter and public schools to constantly review their curriculum in an effort to compete effectively.
Skilton-Sylvester(2011) opine that present day principles and managers of public and charter schools are required to constantly monitor and evaluate efficacy of their curriculum, review and implement new strategies and tactics in order to improve the performance of students in schools.
Autonomy as well as teachers leadership are critical tenets in the development of a school’s curriculum. Several studies have demonstrated that inexperienced teachers do not contribute enough to the development of a school curriculum.
Purpose of the Study
Charter and public schools in the United States of America have to combat a number of challenges because of external and internal pressure.
Externally, both public and charter schools need to show good results during examinations. Internally, some schools have inexperienced teachers and poor curriculum that does not enhance performance of students. Developing a comprehensive and effective curriculum in both charter and public schools will provide a platform for these schools to perform well in examinations.
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As noted by Peebles (2004), an inexperienced and poor teacher has the potential to unconstructively affect the outcome of students even after the students have left the class. In the process of defining a curriculum, it is critical that teachers possess a detailed apprehension of approaches for assessing the outcome of students, techniques for assessing curricula as well as instructional delivery and the content of the curriculum.
Besides, when developing a curriculum, teachers should be given sufficient time to plan, to create, to adopt and to assess the curriculum. Numerous studies have revealed that one of the reasons why students migrate from one school to another is attributed mainly to students’ poor academic performance. Most parents who are not contented with grades of their children received during the process of studying at school are more than wiling to transfer their children to another school.
The significance of the Problem
Students have different abilities in a given or particular classroom. We can hardly have a one-size lesson package which can fit all students in the class. Learning procedures and abilities differ across the classroom. As a result, there is a need for a lesson tailored to fit a specific group of students with a common liability or problem.
The lesson must address these needs for effectiveness and benefits of the students. At the same time, the needs of students are divers. This means that teachers should tailor their teaching profession in a specific way in order to meet specific needs of the students. The teacher in this case faces a challenging task of ensuring that he or she has the needed and required skills for some particular needs. Differentiated instruction is an area in the teaching profession which is harnessed for providing specific needs to students.
Given that students have specific needs that must be catered for by differentiated instructions, there is the need for developing an area for students’ professional development for the differentiated instruction. In this paper, differentiated instruction for students with difficulties in learning the English language in a mathematics class will be addressed and looked at.
Mathematics Learning in English Language
Mathematics is a core subject in all disciplines. The subject is a must-learn for students in various disciplines. Mathematics is majorly taught in English. This is because of the ease with which the language is used in relation to mathematical expressions. The United States of America, the United Kingdom, and some countries in Africa use English in mathematics classes.
At the same time, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have non-English speaking population who are schooling in the same. As a result, mathematical textbooks used in this setting are written in the English language. The same text books are used in African countries in the mathematical curriculum.
Teachers in training colleges are taught in English and as a result, they infer the same to students in English. At the same time, there is no discrimination in education settings. Consequently, students are huddled together in the same learning environment irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds (Bender, 2002).
Students who have English as their second language find it hard to cope with in a mathematics class as they are faced with two tasks that ought to be accomplished simultaneously. The first task entails learning the English language, whereas the second task involves learning mathematics itself.
Due to this, the students who have the English language as their second language struggle to grasp concepts in mathematics class. This happens due to the fact that when the lessons are delivered, teachers do not discriminate students but deliver the lesson with an assumption that they are grasping the concept irrespective of the language deficiency.
Given that teachers cannot speak and learn the first language for every student in class, there is a need for them to offer differentiated instruction to students in this area. Differentiated instruction is vital to students with learning disabilities as teachers are trained to give instructions with a generalized idea on the same (American Institutes for Research, 2010).
Differentiating Mathematical Instruction for English Language Learners
Mathematics classes have normally diverse students. The common diversity is seen in terms of ethnic backgrounds. In a mathematics class, about 30% of the students are normally the English language learners. As a result, they differ in the learning abilities, facilities, and styles.
The English language learners find it hard to cope with the material in this class. The purpose of differentiation in a mathematics class is to teach the victimized students with the aid of myriads of techniques and strategies that address their deficiencies. This implies that the main focus is on the teacher.
The teacher is supposed to come up with strategies in order to implement the differentiation instruction. In this case, the teacher is supposed to be equipped with professional techniques needed to address this issues (Tomlinson, 1999). In this project, the professionalism involved in differentiation mathematical instructions for the English language learners are going to be discussed and highlighted.
The purpose of differentiating the mathematical instructions for the English language learners is to make the lesson of mathematics comprehensible for all students in the class. Through this concept, the students are supposed to achieve the needed mathematical concept despite their language barriers.
As a result, the teacher is supposed to ensure that the students express the numbers or concept used to solve a certain mathematical expression in writing or orally. This involves ensuring that the lesson is not given as it is written in the books but rather is made for the students (Glencoe, 2005).
Before implementing as well as also during and after implementing the strategies involved in the learning process, the teacher is supposed to make an assessment of the class and students in order to identify the needs of the students. There are several methods that can be used.
The first method is examination of the records. In this case, the teacher is supposed to carefully examine or review the test score of the students in previous mathematical tests. He or she is also supposed to check the daily assignments and the wording used in the students’ books.
Assessment should be done at the beginning of the term or the period the teacher has taken over. Assessments can also be done through a one-on-one talk with the student in case the class is small. In addition, assessment can also be done through testing a learning style inventory that can work best to the students. This is possible through ascertaining the topic that best suits the students (American Institutes for Research, 2010). For this case, the students should be given topics, such as algebra and statistics.
Assessment should also be assessed for their progress. This should be done through the skills levels, learning style and thinking skills among many other issues. At the end of every period, the teacher should give the students some projects and evaluate the same to see the extent to which they have grasped the concept (Baker, Gersten, & Lee, 2002).
Making Expressions Banks
The strategy consists in making the use of diagrams that show expressions and phrases that are helpful in the English language learners’ (ELLs) study of mathematics. This occurs because when the words used by a teacher are accompanied by diagrams and illustrations, they help the ELLs understand various mathematical concepts and have the memory stick accordingly.
The Use of Manipulative Tools
These are gadgets that a teacher should employ in the course of teaching in order to ease understanding. These manipulative tools are made to help the students come up with physical illustrations which comprise the mathematical expressions. Having a student come up with a physical mathematical model by himself or herself will boost his or her confidence and motivate them to understanding the mathematical concept easily and qucikly (Scholastic Instructor, 2010).
Modify a Teacher Talk and Practice Wait Time
The teacher should not engage in a lot of talking without giving time to ask questions. Also, when asking a question, some time in order to generate answers should be given to the students in the class. Writing the question on the board helps a lot as well as it helps to stress the most major concepts in the mathematical language (Scholastic Instructor, 2010).
Eliciting Nonverbal Responses
The English language learners are in most cases used to nonverbal communication. As such, the teacher should be keen to notice their understanding of concepts by simply observing their behavior and reactions while teaching (Scholastic Instructor, 2010).
The Use of Sentence Frames
The English language learners understand sentence frames quite well in their English language. Therefore, the use of such statements while expressing mathematical concept will foster the students’ understanding.
Design Different Questions and Prompts at Each Proficiency Level
Asking question gives students a chance to express and confirm their understanding of the subject. Also, it helps the teacher know if the concepts taught in the class having been grasped or not.
The Use of Prompts to Support Student’s Responses
The use of prompts to support student’s responses entails giving a certain way of answering a question to the English language learners. Such prompts help them to be confident while expressing their answers during the lesson
Consider Language and Math Skills When Grouping Students
Interacting in a group level gives students an opportunity to learn new ideas as well as overcome difficulties which they might have had in understanding some mathematical concepts. Therefore, grouping students with different abilities together helps their learning to a great extent.
Those people who support the education for the ELL suggest that common core academic standards should be implemented with an aim of raising achievement for the English learners. Education sector should pay more attention to the non-performers to improve their performance in all the subjects and area of study. Screening of the students’ performance to identify their weaknesses could contribute positively to their performance in the end.
The Arizona system of assessment should also be evaluated to improve its effectiveness on the assessment of the student’s performance. Since the study identified that the non-ELL performed better in math than non-ELL, more emphasis should be put on their system of education and the curriculum to equalize the performance of both groups.
Utilize Partner Talk
In the course of teaching, the teacher should allow discussions between the neighboring students, which breaks the monotony of the teacher talking alone and also contributes to building trust between the students, being very vital in the process of studying in class.
Encourage Choral Responses from Students
To encourage choral responses from students helps a sector of learners who hardly speak out to answer a question or ask one. In a choral response, therefore, they are able to gain confidence as well as get the right pronunciation of the mathematical concepts (Scholastic Instructor, 2010).
Implementation of the Plan
When setting out the plan, the teacher is supposed to ensure that the room is well arranged in a way that it can quickly be rearranged for the next lesson. The teacher should then issue materials in a properly arranged manner to be used for the study. Materials such as drawings tools, computers, textbooks, and audio materials among many others should be provided (Allsopp, 2008). When everything is ready and arranged, the lesson should start.
The teacher is supposed to display some qualities or principles vital for the implementation of the plan. The first principle is patience. The teacher should be patient with the students and give everyone time to express their own ideas. The next principle should be willingness.
The teacher should develop a parent heart and be willing to always help his or her students any time. At the same time, the teacher should maintain professional methods and never deviate from the topic or give up on it because of the difficulties involved. When teaching, the teacher should be honest with his or her students and avoid showing divided favors.
Key players in the Plan
Since this is a school setting, various players should be involved for the success of the plan. First of all, the parents should be involved by all means. They are supposed to provide the needed funds and materials for the success of the plan. Teachers should also be involved. They should mark the needs of the English language learners and be ready to be called for extra lessons.
The teacher leaders should ensure that materials are availed on time. The staff should also be willing to help in any way possible. The students should be willing to be helped and always help each other (Allsopp, Kyger & Lovin, 2007).
Mathematics is often regarded as a foreign and quite hard subject to grasp to most students unlike the other subjects taught at school or college. Particularly, in the case of English Language Learners (ELLs), mathematics to them is a major challenge. For a teacher, as a result, it is hard make the students fully understand the math language, as such, a lot of efforts are required to acquire math concepts in the oral and written form.
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