HS ESL Beginners

<b> Forum for ESL/EFL teachers working with secondary school students </b>

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Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:36 am

HS ESL Beginners

Post by mlordon » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:37 pm

I just experienced a conversation with an academic content area teacher that I think will change the way they deal with future ESL students (I hope). During class, this teacher handed out the study guide for the class final exam. When she came to the aforementioned ESL student, she asked him to use a highlighter to indicate which subjects he was comfortable answering questions about. This teacher was going to make a modified exam for the ESL student. The student highlighted all of the subject matter and the teacher was so happy with all that he felt he learned. The teacher then came to me to show me the highlighted study guide and the modified exam. I could not believe my eyes. I was able to convince the teacher that the student did not even know what she was asking him to do on the study guide. I spoke at length with the teacher to explain what the student was capable of and what he was working on in ESL class.

The teacher returned the next day with a paper that listing the main subject of the 10 chapters covered in the exam. For his final exam, he was being asked to bullet list items covered in the chapter that had to do with the main subject, i.e. the 4 MAIN causes of WWI.

This was more than fair and something the student could accomplish. This teacher now understands that modifying an exam for an ESL beginner is very different that the modifications originally presented.

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Post by Donnetta » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:08 am

AWESOME! Talk this teacher up and praise them to others. It isn't often that you find a teacher who is willing to do the modifications themselves. Usually I had to do the test/project modifications for all of my ESL students' content area classes. Needless to say that is a TON of work in addition to my own ESL work. But if I didn't do it, then they would be expected to do the regular tests and projects and would fail the class(es). If only we could get more teachers to come on board with this our students and our own lives would be so much better. The key is to get teachers to see that working with our ESL students is very similar to working with Special Needs students. They both need IEPs (Individual Education Plans) to help them do their best. And often times, the same modifications that teacher use with Special Needs students can be used with ELLs.

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