UNDERSTANDING WHAT ELL STUDENTS ‘CAN DO’
As a member of the WIDA International School Consortium, we build on the strengths of ELL students as they continue to acquire and develop English language skills with a strong emphasis on what they can do at each stage of their journey. At the outset, an assessment is given to understand the student’s proficiency levels in English language reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension. The ELL teacher determines the focus of student instruction and level of support required. This is based on assessments, observations, and teacher feedback. Each ELL student has an individualised learning plan. For younger children, language acquisition is best supported through in-class immersion with targeted, additional support. Older children may require more time-intensive language support.
Through the use of WIDA assessments, resources and ‘Can Do Descriptors’, we are able to measure student progress at various points in the year and adjust learning goals and instructional approaches accordingly. The outcome of our ELL support model is to exit students once they have reached levels of proficiency in English that ensure they can be independent and successful in the classroom.
IN ALL TEACHERS
Just like we believe every teacher is an inclusive educator, we also believe that every teacher is a teacher of language. We subscribe to the philosophy that building the capacity of all teachers to support ELL students is the most effective way to meet the needs of these learners.
Our Learner Support teachers use the WIDA framework and resources to facilitate planning for and delivery of lessons that support ELL students at every grade level. Each year we offer the ‘Teaching ESL students in mainstream classrooms: Language in learning across the curriculum’ course as a part of our professional development programme. This certification provides our classroom teachers and co-teachers with valuable skills, strategies and resources they can apply in their work with ELL students across all subject areas and grade levels.