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grouping students by level, not language

 
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clayton



Joined: 20 Jan 2011
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:25 am    Post subject: grouping students by level, not language Reply with quote

In my class reading of "Forbidden Language," chapter 5 references Massachusetts' Question 2:
"In order to minimize the use of native languages, the law encourages schools to place children of different languages but similar English fluency together."
I'd like to ask the veterans out there about their experiences with this type of policy. Did you find it beneficial to the students? Did it make it harder for the shy students? Were the students able to readily make friends within the class?
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cmq98



Joined: 20 Jan 2011
Posts: 12
Location: New Jersey USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach ESL at the high school level and some of our core content classes are conducted in this fashion. Some lower achieving general ed. students are grouped with ELL's in differentiated instruction settings and in my experience with it so far, I feel that the ELL's are intimidated and unwilling to open up. Sometimes when ELL's are grouped with general education students, they are unwilling to speak in class in fear of being embarassed and laughed at for their pronunciation. I found that when ELL's are placed in small groups together, regardless of levels of proficiency, they are more likely to feel comfortable expressing themselves and it becomes a much more productive setting.
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cunnin49



Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is crazy that they lump the students together by language and age appropriate level. I think these children are not being treated in a way that fosters learning for them. They should be place in skill appropriate classrooms and grouped according to skill. I know in some special education classrooms, they group according to grade and work individually... If the students get individualized instruction (which I fear they are not) than lumping them by language could work, but has its flaw. The worst flaw I see is that the NNS are not being given an opportunity to interact with English speakers in interpersonal ways. They are only shown English in the classroom setting. These students need to be put in classrooms where they are challenged and able to interact with their English speaking counterparts.
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Mromero



Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:43 am    Post subject: Agree with cunnin89 Reply with quote

This could work but, honestly, the only person I think this is beneficial for is the teacher. This makes it easier for the teacher to incorporate her lesson but like cunnin said where is the chance for the child to associate with students of higher level. I am a bilingual teacher and I group my students based on their language proficiency in the classroom but during activities I pair English dom students with ELL's so that they can interact and discuss the lesson.

I believe that seeing that these students are more proficient helps my less-proficient student believe that they can also do it.
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Bethany.Blaine



Joined: 26 Oct 2011
Posts: 24
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree that it is imperative for the students to be grouped within their academic and even social level. It does not make sense for a first year ELL to be put into a classroom with a third or fourth year ELL. The difference could be completely overwhelming. However, it must be kept in mind that interaction with stronger English speakers can be a huge benefit to new ELLs. I agree with cunnin that students need to be challenged in this kind of situation.
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teachnj



Joined: 26 Oct 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that ELLs should be grouped by English language ability first and within that scope a further division must be made for academic skill level. When you consider language ability first you reinforce the skills already learned in English and can continue to challenge them. Academic skills grouping is also important so as to avoid frustrating students. At times we fail to acknowledge the stress ELLs are constantly under: learning a new language and learning new concepts in the content areas.
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