Just another WordPress.com site

Knowing the Learner

This past week, I tested two different kinds of learners. One didn’t know much English at all, and the other, super fluent.

The way things work with English Language Learners is that we have to test everyone who has something other than English on the Home Language Survey. In this way, we make sure we hit everyone entitled to service.

There was no question about the first. It was simple.

The second, though…

So this student spoke practically as though English were the first and only language at home. Turns out that it was a bilingual household. But the primary language, for school and home, was Hebrew.

So what does this mean?

A little research brought me to this page, which explains the differences between English and Hebrew. Handwriting? Really poor. The student even thought so. Anxiety surfaced around spelling issues. I said just practice was needed. Not to worry. I’m not going to look at spelling.

The relative who was at the meeting also got to glance at the writing and was sure this student would need ELL services.

But it’s a good thing I didn’t try to pass judgement before having read it. Even though the handwriting looked very rough, the words chosen were appropriate for on-grade-level writing. Words like justice and representative and excellent. And text wasn’t copied.

It was beautiful.

And it shows how easy it is to judge without knowing all the facts.

And it highlights how important it is to know your students well. To know that what this student’s issue was was not expressive language at all, but rather the fact that the language of school was one that was curvy and is written from right to left. English is composed a lot more of sticks–straight lines that cross each other. And if you’re not used to writing left to right, well, that has to be really disconcerting.

So… One more tip: Know your students’ first language. It can help keep us all on the right track!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Brokedown Pamphlet

war some of the time

Selene Colburn

VT Representative (Chittenden 6-4) & East District City Councilor, Burlington, VT

Thriving Under Pressure

Positive Psychology & Stress Resilience

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

Film English

by Kieran Donaghy

Teach or Die Trying

The blog of a first year teacher

Lee Ung: EDTECH Learning Log

Boise State University M.ET Program

JamesRadcliffe.com

James Radcliffe, Musician. Music, Blog, Pictures, Live, News...

Learning to Teach English

Musings and Activities

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

Science and Mysticism

طيب ابن الإعجاز

sunriseandselah

Selah: To Pause, To Praise, To Reflect

edensESL

it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge

Kunal Rane

Some Memories... Some Experiences...

%d bloggers like this: