English Language Learners
English Language Learners (ELLs) represent a significant population in schools today. As such, it is important to use strategies that can assist student learning in any content area. In terms of physical education, it is in a unique position as it has characteristics supportive of ELLs with conditions similar to those in which children acquire their first language (Clancy, M. & Hruska, B., 2005). These characteristics include:
"Novelist Chimamanda Adichie...warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding." In addition to our biases/misunderstandings, it is also important to recognize how we can send hidden messages to our students by the content we select, what and who we use as examples, language we use or don't use, etc.
This classic video by PBS demonstrates the effects that can come from being a minority. While it is very dated, it is still a great resource for educators and students. You can find the original clips along with supplemental resources here.
ASSIGNMENTS, ASSESSMENTS, AND ACTIVITIES
- Embed multicultural education throughout the curriculum, as opposed to a "Heroes and Holidays" approach where other cultures are only mentioned on "special" days.
- Learn to pronounce student names correctly to help develop rapport. If you are not sure, ask.
- Utilize technology such as class websites, blogs, and videos.
- Utilize structured note-taking formats (ie. graphic organizers) and teach viewing comprehension strategies.
- Utilize classroom routines and play music whenever possible.
- Allow students to use their native language when needed. A review of literature shows that supporting ELL students' use of their native language helps them comprehend and learn English. It develops greater brain density in areas related to language, memory, and attention (Moughamian et al, 2009; Protheroe, N., 2011).
SPECIALLY DESIGNED ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION FOR ENGLISH (SDAIE)
- Establish a link between the students prior knowledge and the material.
- ie. Think-pair-share, quick-writes, and anticipatory charts.
- Familiarize unknown concepts through direct experience.
- ie. Demonstrations, media, manipulatives, repetition, and local opportunities.
- Provide students with skills and vocabulary to talk about their learning.
- ie. Self assessments, note taking and studying techniques, and vocabulary assignments.
- Speak slowly and clearly, model the language you want students to use, and provide samples of student work.
- Help students see the relationships between various concepts.
- ie. Compare and contrast, jigsaw learning, peer teaching, and projects.
- Invite students to extend understandings of text and apply them in a new way.
- ie. Student created drawings, videos, and games.
RESOURCES USED FOR THIS PAGE
- Enhancing Content Literacy in Physical Education. Buell, C., & Whittaker, A. (2001).
- Developing Language Objectives for English Language Learners in Physical Education Lessons. Clancy, M. & Hruska, B. (2005).
- Teaching Secondary Physical Education to ESL Students. Glakas, B. A. (1993).
- Instructional Models and Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Center on Instruction. Moughamian et al. (2009).
- English Language Learners: A Policy Research Brief produced by the National Council of Teachers of English. NCTE. (2008).
- Effective Instruction for English-Language Learners. Protheroe, N. (2011).