Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ELL students to get more time with native speakers

Parents, experts both see benefit

At Glencliff, goal is to increase immersion time from 50% to 80%

The Tennessean reports here that Metro schools' English-language learning (ELL) students are going to spend more of their schoolday with fluent English speakers. At Glencliff High School, native English speakers and English learners currently spend about half of their schooldays together, but the goal is to up that proportion up to 80%:
For part of the day, they [ELL students] are pulled out into special classes where they learn basic vocabulary and skills. They spend the other portion in "sheltered" classes, where they receive traditional instruction with help from a teacher trained to deal with students learning the language.

The problem is that in some schools, the roster in sheltered classes is full of English Language Learners rather than a balance of those and native English speakers. And parents and experts agree that robs students of one more opportunity to practice their new tongue.
[Glencliff High School Principal Tony] Majors estimates that English Language Learners spend 40 percent to 60 percent of their day with other non-English speakers. He wants to see that drop to 20 percent.
Statistics included in the story:
  • ELL students in Metro: 6,900
  • ELL teachers in Metro: 317 (126 of whom are not fully certified for ELL)
  • Metro schools offering ELL programs: 63
  • Glencliff High School student body: 34% black, 34% white, 26% Hispanic, 5% Asian
Photo by Thomas Hawk. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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