It should be kept in mind that the alignment of academic standards with the ELL (English Language Learner) proficiency standards was initiated as a way of improving the learning standards in America. It was found out that when teachers exerted maximum effort in giving instructions to their students, there were some tasks that the students could not handle after graduating. Under the President George Bush, new education laws were enforced. The legislation stipulated that students should acquire specific skills before graduating from a high school. In addition, it laid down the standards that should be met by the learning institutions. The legislation was meant to ensure that students acquired skills that were necessary for progressing to college.
It is a well-known fact that there are millions of students who enroll in the American schools. The students’ educational backgrounds are not similar since they are exposed to different learning environments. The nation hopes to increase the number of the English Language Learners by reducing the challenges in the education system. The standards demand that any student who does not possess skills necessary for college should not graduate.
The standards have been created after taking into consideration various aspects. For instance, TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) has considered all the training stages that a student should undergo before he/she is eligible to pursue a career. The rules are based on the fact that the English Language Learners come from various backgrounds and they have different experiences as some of them do not support acquisition of specific skills. This necessitates the creation of universal standards that will not discriminate other learners. (Ferlazzo & Sypnieski, 2012).
According to the survey conducted in California, the mode of communication between teachers and learners is worrying. Several teachers argued that they hardly got time to address specific needs of the learners. Some claimed that there were certain issues that barred them from effectively carrying out functions. The survey revealed that teachers required both material and moral support in order to fully deliver their services.
In response to the teachers’ requirements, there is need to set professional standards in the education system. For the professional standards to be implemented effectively, the following issues ought to be addressed:
- Carry out reviews on the current professional standards to match them with the current demands in the education sector. It is important to understand that different schools have different needs. In addition, teachers have various requirements that should also be addressed fully. Therefore, teachers’ opinion should be obtained while implementing the standards. Basically, the satisfied teachers are able to deliver their services as expected. Consequently, their students will be satisfied.
- A professional development program should be formulated. This will ensure effective changes and transformations in the education system.
Using Arizona learner standards to differentiate instructions for different levels of the English Language Learners
In the first place, it is to be remarked that TESOL has laid out the standards that every student should meet. It has also clarified the goals that should be attained at every level of education. The standards and goals define what students should achieve at different levels for them to be eligible to graduate. For instance, a third grade learner may be proficient in English up to certain standards. A teacher will therefore use the standards to improve his/her service delivery. Thus, if a teacher has identified that a third grade student can pass up to the first grade standards, he/she can try incorporating the second grade standards into the lessons. The second grade standards will assist in preparing the student for higher standards which are yet to come.
In line with this, the Student Accountability Information System (SAIS) has also been created to assist teachers in storing students’ academic performance. This program enables teachers to help students with their progress. With the program, students also get an opportunity to evaluate their performances. Once they have carried out self-evaluation, they will be able to identify resources that can allow them to progress. (Healey, 2011)
Using the standards to create instructions that meet the academic needs of the student
From the above discussion it is evident that the variety of proficiency standards is beneficial to both students and teachers. For example, it lets the teacher select the standards that suit specific needs of the student. Normally, a good number of the English Language Learners acquire English skills during their elementary years. These are the years when a single teacher is mandated to teach several subjects. According to the Arizona standards, every teacher is expected to focus on specific standards. This will facilitate better service delivery as the students’ needs are addressed fully. The standards clarify the essential skills that students must acquire before they can be awarded high school certificates. If this standards are fully implemented, high school graduates will be able to define their careers easily.
Ferlazzo, L., & Sypnieski, K. (2012). The ESL/ELL teacher’s survival guide ready-to-use strategies, tools, and activities for teaching English language learners of all levels. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Healey, D. (2011). TESOL technology standards: description, implementation, integration. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.