Evidence Based Goals

Serving ELL Students and Families

Goal 1: I will begin to offer more academic choice to students, thus, encouraging interest and comfort when participating in classroom activities and conversations. For assignments in which I chose the reading, content, background knowledge, etc, I will strive to chose information that is diverse and culturally relevant to my students.

Rationale: Choice has a powerful impact on ELL students on account many ELL students come to school with fund of knowledge normally ignored or undervalued by the mainstream population (Moll et al, 2010). Therefore, when choice is provided, students have the ability to expand upon background knowledge and achieve success within a classroom environment. Furthermore, cultural awareness is an integral part of any successful ELL program. Students feel empowered when their culture is represented and therefore feel a sense of place and belonging within in a larger community (Baker, 2010, p. 291). Also, students are far more likely to engage in academic content when they feel as if the information being presented is relevant.

Steps/ Examples of future assignments:

  1. Allow students to chose their own topics for their current event assignments.
  2. Learning about multiple cultural experiences and rituals.
  3. Explore multiple perspectives when discussing historical events.

Goal 2: In the future I will seek to create purposeful lessons that encourage students to interact with their families on an academic level.

Rationale:

At the high school level school/ family/ community partnerships look very different compared to that of the primary level. My school likes to foster an environment where students feel independent and empowered to ask questions and advocate for themselves. Thus, parents are often not directly involved with their child’s education on a classroom level. In addition, as an individual teacher in such a large school, impacting other forms of school/ family/ community partnerships is an overwhelming task. However, learning at home is an element in which I feel as if I can not only control, but make a positive impact. All of lessons below seek to engage parents in their students learning, and provide students a means in which to dialogue with their families about school and current content. Ideally these assignments would increase a parent’s awareness about their child as a learner, and help students develop a positive attitude towards schoolwork (Epstein, 2010).

Steps/ Examples of future assignments:

  1. Create assignments in which students conduct parent/ family interviews about life changing historical events, presidential legacies, etc.
  2. Encourage students to teach their parents about content presented in class i.e creation of the Constitution, how to create a population pyramid, etc.
  3. Map family members movement in order to discuss push and pull factors in geography.
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Goal 3: I will strive to clearly communicate high expectations to my students, thus creating a classroom where rigor is maintained and students feel supported when taking on new challenges.

Rationale:


A majority of my students have a firm grasp of BICS and are thus striving to master CALP (see chart on page 6 ). In order to continue this process students must be challenged within an academic environment. It is too often the case that educators shift their focus to only language acquisition when working with ELL students and ignore the need to address content and skills. Therefore, I will strive to always balance rigorous language skills with rigorous academic content. As I continue to raise the bar for my students I will keep in mind Baker’s advice and seek to foster a positive “can do atmosphere” for students, thus making them feel more comfortable when rising to new challenges (Baker, 2010, p. 308). I will also keep in mind the notion that Students must feel supported and should receive positive language feed back that is motivational and empowering - not riddled with over corrections (Delpit, 1995).

Steps/ Examples of future assignments:

  1. Design lessons that are rich in academic language and rigor.
  2. Clearly communicate lesson expectations by writing a daily KUD (know, understand, do).

3. Provide positive feedback to encourage students when presented with difficult tasks.