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Blog: Thursday, March 12th, 2020

The End of English Only

Have you seen the 1-5-15? It is a bite size PD, to maximize the spare minutes we have when we can, and when we choose to. To access prior 1-5-15 issues please go to the ELL website.

1 minute: Language is Culture

“Language is an important marker of one’s identity. For young language learners and school-aged children, language is a fundamental part of who they are because it is has been an inextricable part of the social world they have grown up in. To denigrate a child’s language or refuse them the possibility of using their language(s) for self-expression, is to diminish them as an individual.” (Genesee, Paradis & Cargo, 2004)

5 minutes: Creating A Community

English Language Learners (ELLs) account for about 25% of the student population of the Abbotsford School District.  Currently there are over 100 languages spoken in our district, with Punjabi, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic being the most prevalent after English.   

Having a language rich classroom is a way to honor multiple languages. This can be done in simple ways such as, integrating subtitles that reflect your students when watching videos or including picture books that reflect your students’ identities and languages (see the Padlet link below for an example).  When working with English based text teachers can use the Office Lens app with the Immersive Reader function.  Not sure how to do this? Ask the ELL teacher in your building or contact the ELL department.

Padlet of Authentic books for ELs organized by theme

15 minutes: Deeper Learning

In the past research supported the belief that “English only” was the best approach for teaching English language learners.  However, current research does not support such an approach.  We now know the value in building off a student’s first language knowledge and experience to develop proficiency in another language.  In addition, allowing students to use their first language provides time for them to process new information and attach it to their prior knowledge which in turn honors a student’s identity.  In addition, students can use their home language to demonstrate understanding. Follow this link to see how the Book Creator platform has been used to make content comprehensible.

Link to ELL Website

LYNETTE POWER
District Principal, English Language Learner