Diversity is an important and often integral part of a teacher’s everyday practice. In the era of the globalized XXI century, when communication technologies allowed for transcending the boundaries of space, learning English as a second language seems to have become one of the bare necessities of a modern student (Garcia, n. d., 00:00.35–00:00.40).
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Therefore, once having an ELL student in their class, a teacher must seek to adopt a unique approach in order to help the ELL student or students in question evolve (Reed, & Railsback, 2003).
Seeing how motivation remains the key to students’ success and efficient performance, it is reasonable to suggest that the task of the one, who has to teach an ELL, is to find a unique niche, which the student take find their interest in, thus, motivating the latter, and at the same time making sure that the student should pass the “large five stages” (Garcia, n. d., 00:03.33–00:03.35) (silent, early productive, speech emergence and intermediate stages) successfully.
Affirming and supporting the native language of the learners seems the most efficient and by far the easiest way to motivating the students for cognizing the specifics of the English language and culture. Thus, a teacher shows that the students’ unique national identities are recognized and appreciated.
As a result, the students do not have to feel defensive about their language and will be eager to acquire the skills that will help them speak English (Garcia, n. d., 00:03.35–00:03.48).
It should be kept in mind, though, that the strategy to be adopted by the teacher in order to facilitate the process of transgression from the native tongue to the English language is different at every stage of the students’ evolution as English language learners.
In the course of the speech emergence stage, in its turn, the code switching process is likely to become the key problem. While the given tool seems efficient as the mean of connecting the two cultures, it still results in students failing to acquire new skills and knowledge (Garcia, n. d.a).
To promote active learning among ELL students, a teacher should take the specifics of the students’ culture into account, yet avoid the process of code switching in class, which can be achieved by combining addictive and subtractive practices (Garcia, n. d.a, 00:03.36).
Another reasonable step towards addressing the issues that ELLs have to encounter in their English studies, the acquisition of the so-called academic English (Hakuta, n. d., 00:02.21) should be addressed by creating an activity that will help the students navigate between the two.
For example, this can include matching academic words with their social language synonyms, participating in a group activity that requires switching between the spoken English, which children have learned through playing, and the academic English, which is much more difficult to master.
As long as an ELL student is motivated to learn more about the language and passes the key stages of language acquisition successfully, a rapid enhancement of the language mastering process can be expected.
However, a teacher must keep in mind that ELL students require a unique approach in order to learn the necessary information. Due to the issues that ELL students experience in the process of code switching, it is crucial that a teacher should supervise their progress on every stage, including the silent, the early productive, the speech emergence and the intermediate ones.
As long as the students are provided with the teacher’s support and require the necessary information at the corresponding stage, their evolution as not only ELL students, but also as lifelong learners becomes a possibility.
Garcia, E. E. (n. d.). English language learners. An MP3 file.
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Garcia, E. E. (n. d.a). ELLs in today schools. An MP3 file.
Hakuta, K. (n. d). Second langage acquisition. An MP3 file.
Reed, B., & Railsback, J. (2003). Strategies and resources for mainstream teachers of English language learners. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.