Monday, April 22, 2013

Breaking down barriers: Illinois State University empowers teachers to engage English learners in the classroom

A new program is teaching teachers how to connect better with their ESL students; most can talk to friends on the playground but can't use proper English in class.    - - Donna Poisl

Written by: Kevin Bersett

It’s happening in classrooms all around the U.S.
Talented, passionate educators who do not possess the pedagogical training to work with English learners are struggling to engage these students through their curriculum. They are confused when English learners can speak English with ease on the playground and at the lunch table but cannot express themselves in the classroom.

This is a common situation for teachers, according to Associate Professor Pauline Clardy and Assistant Professor Elizabeth Skinner, both of the elementary bilingual/bicultural elementary education program. In their work with teachers and teacher candidates, they help demystify such phenomena and, more importantly, prepare educators to better serve English learners. “My goal is to help teachers to modify their lens,” Clardy said.

Sometimes English learners possess the language and interpersonal skills to carry on a conversation with friends but not the mastery of academic language required for abstract thinking and problem-solving in the classroom.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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