Lessons Learned During ELL Immersion
A MiddleWeb Blog
Talk about immersion. In our state, every teacher and every school administrator is now being required to take an English Language Sheltered Immersion course for re-certification, and the mad scramble to get spots in the few courses being offered by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been fierce.
I was able to get into a course this past fall, along with a handful of colleagues from my school, including the entire sixth grade teaching team. Every Wednesday night, for four months, we dove into strategies to meet the needs of English Language Learners. (Our state is doing this because of pressure from the federal Department of Justice, based on the stagnant data of ELL students in our state, apparently.)
I could do a whole column on frustrating course design and materials of the immersion class, but I won’t, except to say that a course to help struggling learners should have been better organized than it was, particularly if it was designed to be a model for teachers.
Luckily for us, we had a stellar instructor, a classroom teacher who knew her stuff and who supplemented the canned state-mandated curriculum with pertinent information and resources.
Despite those frustrations, and despite the heavy workload (we were expected to learn new strategies one week, implement these strategies in our classrooms with ELL students within days, write a full report on the implementation, and then return the next week to start the cycle all over again), I learned quite a bit about how to best meet the needs ELL students, particularly in content-area vocabulary instruction.
Here, then, are my Top Lessons Learned ….