Research to Classroom Practice: Culture & Inclusion
The shifting cultural, linguistic, demographic, and socioeconomic trends of today have many impacts on
English Language Learners. Educational background impacts the speed at which an ELL masters a new
language. A parent’s expectations for schooling can also have a great impact on their child’s progress in
school. The parent’s education level also can have an impact. Some of our ELL students come from
strong academic backgrounds before coming to the United States. Some of our students had limited
formal schooling and may also have had difficult experiences coming to and living in the United States.
Poverty level, mobility, exposure to trauma, violence, abuse, or other serious stressors can slow down
the learning process (Vogt & Short, 2013).
Teachers of English Language Learners are challenged to effectively embrace a wide variety of
educational and cultural experiences, since learners come with a mind boggling cornucopia of diverse
backgrounds, various skills, and attitudes towards education. In a single classroom, there might be many
linguistic differences along with differences in learning styles. English Language Learners enter school
with a wide range of proficiencies and a divergence in subject matter knowledge. The academic
achievement level of English language learners has lagged behind their language-majority peers. A
teacher’s challenge is to meet all students’ needs in order to educate them well (Bergmann et. al. 2004).
Opportunities are present for public schools with the ever increasing volume of English learners in
specific geographic locations. Academic programs specifically geared to these learners can become well
established (Perogoy & Boyle, 2008). An avalanche of English learners, especially in California, Nevada,
Florida, New York, Hawaii and New Jersey are met with limitless potential. When well prepared, schools
at the local, state, and national level provide the help our ELL students require. However, for one reason
or another, often public schools are not prepared in spite of clear, predictable trends of a growing
population of English learners. Federal and state governments expect all students to meet high
standards, however, our English Language Learners are tested before they are proficient in English. If
these students are not proficient in their standardized tests, we should not be surprised at their scores
because they are English learners. Our government must provide public schools with the instructional
goals, program designs, and human and material resources that teachers need to help their English
Language Learners succeed academically (Vogt & Short, 2013).
In my classroom, I do everything in my power to help Newcomers adjust to the culture of my classroom.
It is challenging for me to accommodate to their needs when I know little about them, and these
students often speak no English. However, the better I come to know my English language learners, the
better I am able to help them succeed in my classroom.
References:
Eds. Bergmann, A., Hall, K. C., & Ross, S. M. (2004). Language Files: Materials for an
Introduction to Language and Linguistics. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University Press.
Echevarria, J. Vogt, M.E., Short, D. J. (2013). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The
SIOP Model. (4th ed.). New York: Pearson.
Perogoy, S. F. & Boyle, O. F. (2008). Reading, Writing, and Learning in ESL. (5th ed.).
New York: Pearson.
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Research to Classroom Practice: Culture & Inclusion