Inthe contemporary education system, second language reading andcomprehension is the most important skill required of students. Thatis as a result of globalization now that people can freely move fromcountry to another in pursuit of better education. In addition to thestudent`s effort in learning how to learn English, the strategiesadopted by the tutor are imperative. This paper uses the classroomscenario from pathways teaching series as a case study where Mr.O`Malley is a teacher of 6thstream main grade with to Ells Mikhail and Maria. This paper willoffer an in-depth analysis of Maria and Mikhail`s case. This paperalso critically analyses the methods used by the teacher in assistingMikhail acquaints to the new environment. The study will evaluate theeffectiveness of the methods used. It is right to point out the factthat different teaching mechanisms suit learners differently.Learning is affected by country of origin, age, need among otherfactors. Therefore, mechanisms employed to teach learners varyaccordingly. The aim of this paper is to ascertain how the differentmethods can be utilized to benefit the students accordingly.
Theclassroom scene presents the teacher Mr. O`Malley an English teacher.The teacher faced a situation where he is introduced to a new studentin his class who is an ELL. The student does not speak English atall. For the student, English happens not to be their first languageof communication. The teacher shows concern as he wonders how thestudent will perform in his class. Moreover, how the student willcommunicate with other students considering that English is a firstlanguage for many of the people in America. Her lack of Englishspeaking skills creates a communication barrier between her and thepeople around her. On the other hand, the teacher is also faced witha situation of Mikhail a student who has been in his class for manyyears yet he still struggles with his English writing skills. Allthrough the case study Mr. O’Malley is concerned on what strategieshe could adopt with an aim of improving the situation of the twostudents.
Needanalysis of the two ELLs
Mariabeing an immigrant without an English background can be classified inthe first stage of second language acquisition. Maria, therefore,needs to learn how to speak in English for communication and learningpurposes and also learn to read and sharpen her writing skills. Onthe other hand, Mikhail has a problem with his writing skills. He isin a position to communicate and speak in English. Nonetheless,Mikhail needs to improve his writing skills to gain proper command ofEnglish. The two students have different needs that ought to beaddressed by the teacher. From the descriptions provided above, it isevident that Maria is in the first stage i.e. pre-production. She isan immigrant who had no English background. As described above, thisphase can take up to several months from the day of entry dependingon the learner`s abilities, and Maria had only managed five monthsshowing that she is still in her early days. The teacher, Mr.O’Malley also communicates to Maria through signs. For instance, hemakes sure Maria smiles and even nods when communicating. The teacheruses that teaching method to try and increase her capability ofexpressing herself and learning English. These gestures are typicallypracticed by pre-production learners who cannot construct sentencesor even express themselves in the second language.
InMikhail’s case, he is likely to be in the 3rdstage i.e. speech emergence level. He is proficient enough tocommunicate with the rest of the students but cannot construct richsentences while writing. He still has grammatical errors whenwriting. However, Mikhail is socially active and expresses himselfwell when communicating with friends. The third stage mainly entailsa rich vocabulary level of about 3000 words that may be the case withMikhail.
Strategiesused by Mr. O’Malley
InMaria’s case, the teacher is utilizing gestures to communicate withher. He makes sure she smiles or even nods when addressing her.Additionally, Mr. O’Malley assigns her a proficient student toassist her in any way possible. By utilizing friends, the teacher ismaking it easier for Maria to acclimatize to the new language andenvironment. It is easier for her to gain substantially throughfriends and as evidenced above, Maria can communicate with friendseven without the knowledge of the teacher. This method is effectiveand suitable in Maria’s case. Maybe to hasten the development, theteacher could employ more mechanisms such as using art or music topass the message across to Maria.
InMikhail`s case, the teacher is encouraging him to write more abouthis experience in the new environment. By doing so, the teacher isenhancing Mikhail`s writing proficiency. By expressing himself in thesecond language, Mikhail can improve in all aspects of the language.As evidenced from the script, Mikhail has grammatical issues thoughfewer communication issues. The mechanisms used by the teacher arealso appropriate especially by letting him describe personalexperiences in writing. The only thing the teacher can do is providemore writing opportunities to sharpen the grammar.
Fromboth cases, it is quite clear the teacher utilizes the SocialInteractionisttheory that enables learners to gain knowledge of the language bygetting involved in communication
Theinteractionist approach used by Mr. O’Malley seems to bear aneffect on the English Language Learners that are in his class. In asmuch as the two students have not shown much improvement on theirside at least there are improvements. Even though the teacher has notcommunicated Maria, or may not have seen or heard her talking rumorhas it that she was communicating with her schoolmates. Mikhail, onthe other hand, has improved can actually and write proper English.Judging from the scenario the teacher Mr. O’Malley is concernedwith the students in his class. It is also evident that teacher iswilling to go an extra mile to learn and do other things out of theordinary that would assist him help his class to improve theirEnglish. [ CITATION K1215 l 1033 ].
Theteacher has to play an immense role in improving the languagestandards of his students. One area to emphasize is on peerinteraction. Students learn quickly from each other and henceencouraging peer interaction between the proficient students, and thelearners can impact positively on the learners. In this case, Maria`sinteraction with other students can boost her confidence in thesocial aspect and replicate the same on language proficiency [ CITATION Cur09 l 1033 ].
Theteacher also has to emphasize more on writing to improve ongrammatical errors and structure as well. In the case of Mikhail, heis socially sound but has poor sentence structure as well as grammar.More writing can improve the same [ CITATION Cur09 l 1033 ].
Inagreement with Many et al. (2009) instructional input and scaffoldingare vital in helping and supporting English Language Learners.Scaffolding a lesson may involve a teacher using more pictures,images and graphics in their lessons. Scaffolding reduces theliterature being taught to use of images to assist them learn tounderstand the word. The sense of sight helps the brain to learn andremember the word. Research has proven that the images increase thecomfort of ELL both the slow and the quick learners. Taking intoconsideration the Mr. O’Malley is good teacher judging from theeffort he is making to help the students. Then scaffolding would beeffective ways of helping Maria learn English.
Thenatural approach theory is also an effective approach used inassisting the English language learners. Conforming to Ene &Panainte (2014) they explain that the natural approach theoryadvocates for language acquisition by the students. It furtherexplains that placing students in an environment with low affectivefilter assist the students to acquire the language best as opposed toenvironments with high affective filters. That is due to the aspectof the student gaining comfort in the learning environment as theclassroom. The comfort does not only reduce the nervousness of thestudent but also reduces the fear of them failing to learn and getembarrassed in front of their peers. In the case of Maria, this casewould work well. That is because Maria communicates with herclassmates well but does not communicate with the teacher in English.Neither does she speak English in the classroom.
Anotheravenue in which the teacher can utilize is the involvement ofparents. It is quite vital for guardians to participate in thechildren’s development. The parents spend time with kids at homehence can contribute substantially in nurturing them accordingly.
Accordingto the California grade 6 standards, students should have acollaborative, interpretive and productive means of communicating.The rules make it of essence for students to adopt means ofeffectively communicating with each other especially for sixthgraders. In both cases, the students have diverse issues. For Maria,communications seem to be the problem but early intervention,especially in terms of reading and writing, can boost heraccordingly. In Mikhail`s case, early intervention could boost hiswriting skills that are a bit challenging especially the grammaticalsection. Parent intervention in the case of Maria can be a hugeboost. She has an issue especially in social aspects andcollaboration between student, teacher and parent can benefit themaccordingly. Interactionisttheory is the most appropriate means of improving both students fromthe current stage. Maria for instance happens to have a social issuehence the slower rate of language acquisition. However, by improvingon this aspect, she will be able to move to the next stage oflanguage knowledge.
Thelanguage acquisition process is quite hectic to both new learners andteachers as well. The levels as elaborated above provide a clearunderstanding of how hectic the process is with adequate proficiencybeing gained after more than ten years. It is mostly up to theteacher to improve the students accordingly. Maria has a huge problemcommunicating and only utilizes body movements to communicate. At herlevel of language knowledge, the teacher has to encourage moresocietal techniques to let her interact with friends more often.Mikhail, on the other hand, makes grammatical errors when writing.Amongst the ways, this can be improved by providing more writingopportunities to ensure adequate practice that in the end will leadto perfection. Mr. O’Malley may also adopt various strategies inhis objective of helping the two students improve. Since differentstrategies work differently for particular individuals, the teacherhas to keep trying new strategies until the teacher can ascertain thestrategies that work positively for the students. In addition to thestrategies, the teacher may also need to consult fellow teachers andacquire advice on how they perceive the students and what are themethods and frameworks that may be used in assisting Mikhail andMaria. The teacher himself might benefit from professionals thatpractice body language learning. If he can know what a certain signmeans then he will be able to act accordingly. He can also gain a lotfrom sign language professional in case he happens to deal withstudents with disabilities such as hearing.
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