Just another WordPress.com site

2teaching_and_learningYou know it’s the end of the term when the trees get leaves overnight, everything has a dusting of pollen on it, sneezes and itchy eyes greet you each morning, your throat closes up…

Oh, and then there’s the grading.

And the students needing help RIGHT NOW.

I wish there were a way to get my mainstream colleagues to see how our students function on immediate relevancy. And how giving them a month’s notice doesn’t really help them on their journey toward graduation.

That’s a hallmark of Students with Limited or Interrupted Education–or SLIFE. It’s a new catchphrase. I just wrote about it last week at the training.

At one session at MATSOL, I heard that Massachusetts is moving toward not just making sure that these students get a suitable education, but also naming them as SLIFE. Not just EL (English Learners) or LEP (Limited English Proficient, the unfortunate federal code for our students). But SLIFE.

What makes a student SLIFE? Here’s what WIDA has to say in a recent focus bulletin:

SLIFE usually are new to the U.S. school system and have had interrupted or limited schooling opportunities in their native country. They have limited backgrounds in reading and writing in their native language(s) and are below grade level in most academic skills (Freeman & Freeman, 2002). Students who have these characteristics could be refugees, migrant students, or any student who experienced limited or interrupted access to school for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, isolated geographic locales, limited transportation options, societal expectations for school attendance, a need to enter the workforce and contribute to the family income, natural disasters, war, or civil strife.

So I’ve been helping bunches of students hurry up and get stuff done before classes end on Monday. It’s been exhausting. And headachy.

And what’s worse is that we could avoid this end of term rush, if we were all addressing these students needs in a culturally appropriate way. What we call procrastination in students who grew up here and should be able to respond to forward thinking assignments is really an inevitable thing for these students.

It has to be relevant. Now. Tomorrow will come tomorrow.

It’s all about the relationship. If you know me and I know you, I’ll work for you.

It’s all about moving them from the oral to the written, from the collective to the individual.

These students all come from collectivist societies. I just read last week that 85% of all societies are collectivist. Only North America and Europe are not. And Australia. Can’t forget Australia.

We are individualistic. We all need to fight our own way. It’s a dog eat dog world. If you want something done right, do it yourself. We all need to earn our own grade. We simply have not been taught to sink or swim together, whereas our students might have to miss school if there is something more pressing at home.

I’m going to be working toward becoming a MALP trainer in the fall. That’s Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm, a plan created to move these students more toward our version of academic thinking.

Maybe then I’ll make some headway in helping people bridge this gap. Instead of spending every free moment of my spring sneezing and talking students through assignments that mean nothing to them.


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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s


art. popular since 10,000 BC

Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humor and courgettes

Language Learning and Teaching

My journey as an Elementary ELL/Bil Resource teacher

Education Rickshaw

International Teaching in Motion

The Brokedown Pamphlet

war some of the time

Selene Colburn

VT Representative (Burlington, Chittenden 6-4)

Thriving Under Pressure

Positive Psychology & Stress Resilience

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

Film English

by Kieran Donaghy

Lee Ung: EDTECH Learning Log

Boise State University M.ET Program

Learning to Teach English

Musings and Activities


Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates


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

%d bloggers like this: