Jodi Crandel

JODI CRANDEL

Well I think you have to have realistic expectations but you also have to have as you say high expectations for English language learners. And you probably can’t predict their proficiency growth unless you know lots about them. Um I think we have a tendancy to use this five to seven years without thinking about some of our students come to us with prior education and if they come from Asia they come already with in many cases a far advanced mathematic and science curriculum and we can actually put them in our science courses not to learn science or not to learn math but to learn English. And we can speed up the process dramatically at least for the kinds of English that they are going to need for academic success. We’re not going to be able to in a short period of time deal with the issues such as um the the mechanics of writing um the kinds of things that are self monitored, um high um really very surfaced level features. We’re probably not gonna get rid of article misuse, there’s a lot of those sorts of things. But it’s not like I think when you read that stuff that statistic about the 5 to 7 years you think of my heavens there’s no way they can compete. That’s simply not true. I think the other thing is we really have to keep convincing everybody that it is possible to teach English language learners content areas, subjects, uh while we’re still learning English. And that in fact when we do that that’s how they learn English. That’s one of the tho they they need an ESL class I certainly never want to suggest they don’t need ESL, just as an English speakers needs a language arts class or needs an English class, an ESL student needs an opportunity to really have some focused attention. Um but they also need to participate in content area instruction and that’s where they’re going to learn the language of mathematics and that’s where they’ll learn to be able to do math word problems is being in in those classes. So um while yes to perform at grade level with their peers in English it can take a long time depending upon prior education and literacy and prior experiences. We also have to keep providing them with the opportunity to show us that they can do it.