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ohepler

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Hello,

I am currently in my first year as a part-time ESL teacher in various public schools in Pennsylvania. I'm getting a lot of questions from content teachers about assessing Level 1 language learners, and I'm struggling with practical advice to give them. I've had coursework on designing both language and content objectives and ensuring language learners are still able to access the content despite language barriers. Designing assessments for Level 1 learners is complicated and has to reflect modified instruction as well, and I'm struggling with how to communicate this to teachers who have limited experience with EL's in their classrooms. I provide all teachers with WIDA can-do descriptors for the students in their classes as well as SDAIE strategies for working with EL's, but maybe there are other resources I should be offering.

Any advice or resources is appreciated!
 

Tdol

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For those of us from outside the US, what is Level 1?
 

Tarheel

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What's an EL?
 

ohepler

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A level 1 is a student who is just beginning to learn English and can only speak and understand single words or phrases at most.
 

ohepler

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An EL is an English Learner or a student who is learning English as a second language.
 

Tarheel

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So I was an EL at one time.
 

Tarheel

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A level 1 is a student who is just beginning to learn English and can only speak and understand single words or phrases at most.

That was me at some point.
 

Tarheel

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Two things. One, how old are your ELs? Two, it should be:

Amy help would be appreciated.
.
:)
 

Tdol

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How advanced is the content part?
 

jutfrank

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I'd like to help but I can understand hardly anything about the situation you're in.

I am currently in my first year as a part-time ESL teacher in various public schools in Pennsylvania. I'm getting a lot of questions from content teachers about assessing Level 1 language learners, and I'm struggling with practical advice to give them.

1) What's a content teacher? An ESL teacher or a teacher of another subject?
2) Why are these teachers asking you about this?
3) What is it exactly they want to know about assessing learners?
4) How is it they don't know how to do this? They're teachers.

I've had coursework on designing both language and content objectives and ensuring language learners are still able to access the content despite language barriers.

I don't understand what that means. Are you talking about course planning or assessing?

Designing assessments for Level 1 learners is complicated and has to reflect modified instruction as well

What's modified instruction?

I provide all teachers with WIDA can-do descriptors for the students in their classes as well as SDAIE strategies for working with EL's, but maybe there are other resources I should be offering.

Yes, that's exactly right. Use can-do descriptors. That's all you need. The skill is in working with them.

I still don't really understand how a group of teachers cannot know the basics of teaching. Do you not have a head of department, or director, or somebody whose job is to tell you what to do?
 

ohepler

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I teach students from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
 

ohepler

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Content teachers are teachers of other subjects besides English language, and in this district, they don't have much experience working with students who don't speak any English. All of their instruction is in English. As one of the ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers for their district, I am a resource for them as far as how to work reach these students.

Modified instruction means changing the way they teach and possibly changing the content they teach to the non-English speakers.

I'm glad there are current or former language learners in this forum because I have never been one myself.

Has anyone received instruction in another subject (science, math, history, etc.) in English while you were just beginning to learn the language? What made the instruction comprehensible? How did you feel as you were assessed in these subjects in English?
 

Tarheel

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Say:

Content teachers are teachers of subjects other than English.
 

Tdol

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I teach students from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

While I may be going against the grain here, I cannot see how someone can take 12th grade physics, for example, when they only have basic recognition of words.
 

ohepler

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While I may be going against the grain here, I cannot see how someone can take 12th grade physics, for example, when they only have basic recognition of words.


It is challenging, but that is the expectation in some cases in American schools.
 

ohepler

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Where does that happen?

I am certified for English as a Second Language in grades K-12, so I teach all ages as I travel to different schools.
 

Tdol

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It is challenging, but that is the expectation in some cases in American schools.

They do it in many British schools, stating that the previous policy of trying to get people up to scratch in the language was exclusionary. I always questioned this approach, and still do.
 

Tarheel

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It's a huge problem here that there are so many children going to school that don't know the language. So you have to teach them English before you can teach them anything else. (How you can be going to an American high school and not know English is beyond me.)
 
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