Understanding Diversity in Class

How to understand ELLs/SIFE students BETTER as an Educator

Participants will:

-Gain an understanding of ELLs and SIFE

-Discuss how to fulfill their needs

-Explore useful websites to support their academic needs

Who are the students that we are teaching today?

NYC is considered as a "melting pot", like our classrooms, due to the diversity of students' education background, cultures, languages, and so on. However, our goal as teachers is the same, to help them achieve their success in school and become valuable citizens. The better teachers understand the differences, the better students will learn in class.

Diverse Strategies to Diverse Students

In our school, in every class we have students with different levels of learning skills, including ELLs, Special Ed, SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education) and Gen. Ed students with various learning styles. We as teachers try to use different strategies to provide differentiated instruction corresponding their needs.

Misconceptions about ELLs (English Language Learners)

- ELLs have limited potential due to their language barriers.

- ELLs shouldn't be exposed to grade-level texts.

- When teachings ELLs, teachers should avoid the use of Academic Language.

- ELLs should master Everyday Language first, followed by Academic Language.

Myths about SIFE (Students with Interrupted Informal Education)

- SIFE have limited potential due to their prior education experience.

- SIFE shouldn't exposed to grade-level texts.

- SIFE students have more likelihood not to graduate on time.

- When teaching SIFE, avoid the use of Academic Language.

<Examples of Power Instructions>

See, Think, Wonder

*This method shows structured strategies that support students to process actively, engage, extend and deepen their thinking.

1. First - See It .... look closely (What do you see?)

2. Second - Think .... interpretation (What do you think about what you see?)

3. Third - Wonder ... Ask questions (What do you wonder?)

- Visual images, objects, artifacts, dramatizations, videos, short passages can be used.

Read, Retell, Respond

* This is a straightforward strategy. Students read a text, then retell it to a partner and

eventually write the 'retell'. The goal of this strategy is to read for meaning and

to enhance language development.


Day 1 - Teacher reads and models retelling.

Teacher reads and students retell.

Teacher asks "What is it about?"

Day 2 - Students read the same text and retell.

Day 3 - Lesson Defferentiated

Different level of questions are given to different students with the same text

according to their language levels.

Langauge Experience Approach

* Students learn with a shared experience (video, image, trip, etc.) through discussion, while teacher records key language. This is followed by a shared writing which is used as class text. The text is read aloud for fluency and language practice.

- Benefits of this strategy: ownership, student centered, multiple entry points,

fluency practice (written and oral), less stress/pressure of complex text