Posted on 09/27/2018 at 01:13 PM by Blog Experts

Assumption #1: ELLs are homogeneous.

Reality: Contrary to stereotypes, not all families of ELLs are Hispanic, poor, and/or uneducated.

 

Assumption #2: All ELLs are immigrants.

Reality: In 2012, 57 percent of English-language learners were born in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition.

 

Assumption #3: Parents of ELLs do not speak English.

Reality: Just because a child is not proficient in English doesn’t mean his or her family isn't. 

 

Assumption #4: ELLs are fluent in their native language.

Reality: It’s not uncommon for children to replace their first language with English, especially international adoptees.

 

Assumption #5: English-language proficiency is an indicator of intellect.

Reality: Can an English-language learner be academically gifted? Most certainly! She can also have learning differences, although we cannot identify them until we rule out language issues.

 

Assumption #6: Social English proficiency equates with academic English proficiency.

Reality: Academic English proficiency can take up to 10 years, yet social English is usually acquired within only one to two years.

 

Assumption #7: Using a native language in school interferes with English-language acquisition.

Reality:  From annotating passages to academic conversations to brainstorming an essay, having students process content in their native language will maximize learning and help them acquire English more effectively. 

 

Assumption #8: English is their second language.

Reality: It may actually be their third or fourth. 

 

Assumption #9: A classroom buddy is a translator.

Reality: A classroom buddy does not need to speak the learner’s native language, although it would be an asset.

 

Assumption #10: Communication is not possible because of language barriers.

Reality: Technology tools are at our fingertips. While they may not be perfect, they are tremendously helpful.

 

For the “Reality’s” read Anabel Gonzalez’s article at: https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2016/11/01/10-assumptions-to-rethink-about-english-language-learners.html

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