The English Language Learning: Proficiency Standards

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There are many different approaches to teaching students English. While some strategies demonstrate some shortcomings, others offer only a conscious description of the methods implemented by the teacher. For example, the use of ELL standards for English language students varies from state to state. In particular, Arizona’s methods were used to develop this program. First of all, it should be noted that the ELL structure is divided into five stages, depending on the age of the student, as well as a division by the degree of English proficiency. The focus of this program is on the third level of students, 3rd to 5th grades.

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Table 1. ELL standards for learning English (“ELL stage III,” n.d.)

ELL Standard Common Core Standard
Listening and Speaking ELL.III.LS.2.HI-5: asking and responding to academic questions in complete sentences (e.g., expressing
possibilities and probabilities,
hypothetical questions, etc.)
Reading III ELL.III.R.2.HI-5: generating a
series of rhyming
words
Writing III ELL.III.W.2.HI-4: using capitalization for proper nouns (i.e., names, place names, dates, holidays, languages), titles (including book and poem titles), and abbreviations.

Rationale

Compliance with the ELL standards described above allows students to develop more creativity in English language learning. However, the standards do not offer specific actions that a teacher should take, but only interpretations. For this reason, the ELL supports teachers in planning their activities for each lesson. For example, in order to develop ELL.III.LS.2.HI-5, the teacher may invite the class to read a piece of literature together, paragraph by paragraph. This would lead to greater involvement of students in the educational process and allow the instructor to assess students’ skills and abilities. In addition, after reading the material, students may be encouraged to reflect on a paragraph that was not read by them. This measure encourages active listening, which is entirely consistent with TESOL principles (TESOL, 2006). A result is a two-way event that aims to demonstrate both the skills of the student and the participation of students in the lesson.

At the same time, ELL.III.R.2.HI-5 implies creating a series of rhyming sentences – hence, the teacher needs to come up with activities related to the verse. For example, if the teacher gives students an excerpt from a subject book and asks them to select the maximum number of rhymed words from the text in a particular time (e.g., ten minutes), this would be a good strategy for implementing ELL.III.R.2.HI-5. The task can be modified if the student does not fully understand all the words that have been read. Thus, since English can be studied as a second language, students should select rhymes from their native language if they cannot find them in English. In this case, the student’s found words are read, and then the translation into English is selected. Moreover, it should be remembered that some students may have limitations and features to perform this activity (Li, Mitchell, & Howard, 2011). Shortened time and academic pressure can cause stress, so the teacher should be careful in preparing the individual assignment.

For writing classes, in order to comply with ELL.III.W.2.HI-4 and the principles of TESOL, students may be offered a test card exercise that assesses the ability to use capitalization. In particular, by grouping students by language level, as suggested by Clark (2009), classmates should choose from a suggested twenty cards ten for which capital letters are appropriate. This activity is aimed not only at teamwork but also at the teacher’s assessment of students’ characteristics during the active discussion. However, the activity’s final goal is to test students’ knowledge of the capitalization rules, so incorrect answers should not be ignored.

References

Clark, K. (2009). The case for structured English immersion. Educational Leadership, 66(7), 42-46.

ELL stage III: Grades 3‐5 [PDF document]. n.d. Web.

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Li, N., Mitchell, Y., & Howard, C. (2011). What a case study reveals: Facing the new challenge and learning the basics in second language acquisition. National Teacher Education Journal, 4(1), 25-32.

TESOL International Association. (2006). TESOL Pre-K-12 English language proficiency standards framework.

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