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Instructional Support » English Language Learners

English Language Learners

English for Speakers of Other Languages

Heather Flanders
ELL Teacher
Gorham High School
222-1100 (office)
flanders@gorhamschools.org

Cecely Conrad
ELL Teacher
Elementary Schools
conrad@gorhamschools.org

“Internationalism is the hallmark of modern U.S. education and of the education reform movement, and linguistic and cultural diversity are the hallmarks of internationalism." It has become the challenge of todays educational global institutions to contribute to the lives of growing diverse local communities and an ever-shrinking world. Effective education for the 21st century must include opportunities for students to learn about the cultural differences around them and to learn world languages. Language learning here in the United Stated is fostered by the interaction that is gained between the non-native speaker and the native English speak er. Whether an English language learner or a native English speaker, families, students, teachers, administrators, and school staff can learn about the world through the relationships they build together.

“In the past 30 years, the foreign-born population of the U.S. has tripled, more than 14 million immigrants moved to the U.S. during the 1990s, and another 14 million are expected to arrive between 2000 and 2010. These numbers have led to reports about an emerging and underserved population of students who are English language learners (ELLs).” (National Council of Teachers of English, A Nation with Multiple Languages. March 2008.) Some of these students arrive in the states with strong educational backgrounds while others come with little educational or none at all. Some ELL students are second generation immigrants who have not mastered their own heritage tongue nor the English language or any other language for that matter. Some come from homes where no English is spoken while others come from homes where only English is spoken; others may use multiple languages in their homes. As far as culture is concerned, some are rooted in their native heritage while others identify only with the U.S. culture; some have a global understanding of multicultures through the many cultures they have been exposed to. It is our responsibility as teachers and parents to try to meet the needs of these special kids, but where do we begin?

The international organization known as TESOL, describes the vision of effective education for all students in five statements of belief:

1) Effective education for English language learners includes advanced or native-like levels of proficiency in English.
2) Effective education for English language learners includes the maintenance and promotion of students' native languages in school and community contexts.
3) All education personnel assume responsibility for the education of English language learners.
4) Effective education also call for the comprehensive provision of high-quality services and full access to those services by all students.
5) Knowledge of more than one language and culture is advantageous for all students.
-PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards. TESOL, Inc.

It is the hope of the ELL department to provide resources that will be helpful to parents, teachers, administrators, guidance, and specialists who work and live with our ELLs. If you come across something of value that you have found helpful, please share it so that we may all be connected in our teaching and inspired to provide an access to success for these students.