The Problem With English Language Learners

801 WordsOct 23, 20154 Pages
One of the reasons that some students struggle in studying and learning in core areas is lack of content-related vocabulary. We acknowledge that the most challenging situation is with English language learners (ELLs). This is the reason Texas has adopted the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) to be able to support the ELLs as they learn the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). However, on a large scale, we observe that even some of our students who are native English speakers also sometimes struggle academically. This is because some of our core areas such as math and science are also foreign to them. We normally do not use words such as bivariate, coefficient, tectonics, metalloids, etc. in our daily conversation. This is what makes learning our core areas challenging if we do not address vocabulary as we teach content. I enjoyed reading this week the article about misconceptions in teaching vocabulary. This is a good article for teachers to read for them to be aware of these misconceptions, which may be theirs as well and are continuously blocking them to be successful in teaching vocabulary. Padak, Bromley, Rasinski, & Newton, (2012) enumerated five misconceptions about teaching vocabulary, to wit: 1. Definitions do the trick. Knowing the meaning of a word is not enough. Teachers should also teach the word’s multiple dimensions: structure and pronunciation, grammar, semantics, and spelling. 2. Weekly vocabulary lists are effective. Assigning
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