English Language Learners Families and Schools

Sociocultural Influences on Ells

Multiculturalism in public education is an issue that educators and administrators should take into consideration to make sure that the curriculum addresses the diversity of students from different ethnic groups. With the increasing population of students from different backgrounds in the United States of America, teachers need to learn how to communicate with these individuals verbally and nonverbally.

Teaching in the classroom should reflect the different cultural backgrounds of the students by giving them an opportunity to learn (Vera, Israel, Coyle, Cross, Knight-Lynn, Moallem & Goldberger, 2012). Teachers should learn their student’s family backgrounds to understand how each culture influences the decisions made by the students and how they handle conflicts. Educators should ably recognize students’ differences and cultural diversity.

The recognition helps students and teachers to respect the differences that come with other cultures. Such understanding also helps students to be more open to different learning styles and techniques and to be more willing to learning about other cultures (Vera et al. 2012).

Bilingualism and Home Language Use

Bilingual education is the form of education catering to students who have entered public schools in the United States of America but who do not speak English. This form of education provides the students with instructions to help them enter the mainstream regular classes. The needs of the students in the classroom, the curriculum, the teaching, and training are periodically evaluated to determine progress.

The evaluators of this system wonder whether the latter is the correct placement for the students who are non-English-speaking. Some feel that mainstreaming and learning English as soon as possible benefits the students. Students in bilingual programs outperform the students in an English- only program (Gillanders, McKinney & Ritchie, 2012). The authors explain the effectiveness of bilingual education to the student.

They state that bilingual education is a process that concurrently nurtures students’ effectiveness in a second and first language (Gillanders et al. 2012). Some states (e.g., Texas) in the USA have made provisions for bilingual education.

A student, for example, should be able to use his or her native language as well as English to understand the meaning of words that will help in comprehension. Vera et al. (2012) slightly delve into how language in different generations evolves throughout the immigrant families. Additionally, Vera et al. (2012) provide an intergenerational model that explains generation language dominance.

In the first generation, the language is usually monolingual based on their home language. In the second generation, the individual is a bilingual who uses both home language and the language used by the people around him or her. In the third generation, the individual is a monolingual who uses his or her native language. The latter is the dominant language (Vera et al. 2012).

Parental and Community Resources for English Acquisition

Most immigrants often parents notice their children are gravitating more toward the English language, and they fear the loss of their native language. With parents fearing that the children will lose their native language, they discourage them from taking part in an ELL program.

According to Dixon, Quentin, Blanca & Jee-Young (2012) Spanish preservation, for instance, is crucial to immigrant parents because it strengthens family unity for survival in a harsh economic environment. Parents associate the loss of Spanish among their US-schooled children with a potential diminution of parental authority and a disruption of cultural values. Hence, most parents may be concerned that their children are losing their Spanish language.

To bridge this gap, students should be divided into ELLs and non-ELLs. To teach non-ELLs effectively, instruction models should be formulated, taking into consideration the limitations of such students. Although most aspects should be similar for the two groups when it comes to instruction, modifications are necessary for English learners.

However, during the earlier stages of learning (when ELLs are learning how to join letters to form words), their progress is quite comparable to that of non-ELLs. When the requirements of the language of instruction are low, the progress of ELLs is improved. As the language and content become more sophisticated, instructional modifications become necessary (Dixon et al. 2012).

How to Improve Home and School Partnerships with ELL Families

For a middle school level student who does not understand English, ELLs should enable them to learn what the other students are learning.

Also, they are expected to learn “academic English” as the language of instruction. They are also expected to compare things and justify choices and know the different inflections and forms of words, and their appropriate applications. They are expected to use content-specific lingo in such disciplines as social studies and mathematics correctly.

Moreover, the student is expected to present himself/herself in written and spoken academic English effectively. If one is not able to meet such expectations, they fall behind everyone else in the class, record poor grades, get discouraged, and have very few occupational and educational choices.

There are millions of children in the United States faced with such challenges, as evidenced by various studies in this field (Genzuk, 1999). This should be the basis upon which to Improve Home and School Partnerships with ELL Families.

References

Dixon, L., Quentin, J., Blanca, G. & Jee-Young S. (2012). Home and community factors influencing bilingual children’s ethnic language vocabulary development. International Journal of Bilingualism, 16(4), 541-565.

Genzuk, M. (1999). Tapping into Community Funds of Knowledge. Web.

Gillanders, C., McKinney, M. & Ritchie, S. (2012). What kind of school would you like for your children? Exploring minority mothers’ beliefs to promote home-school partnerships. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40(5), 285-294.

Vera, E., Israel, M., Coyle, L., Cross, J., Knight-Lynn, L., Moallem, I. & Goldberger, N. (2012). Exploring the educational involvement of parents of English learners. School Community Journal, 22(2), 183-202.