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Valentine Ignatov
Valentine Ignatov

Developing Skills L. G. Alexander ~UPD~

This important new course leads the adult and secondaryschool student who is an absolute beginner to fluent Englishthrough four integrated books. Each of the four books can,however, be used independently of the others and can indeedbe entered at any point. The course will be found particularlysuitable for adult students in need of remedial work; schoolsand language institutes where wastage caused by irregularattendance is a problem; and students who wish to studyon their own.The basic aims of the course are: to train the student in thefour skills of understanding, speaking, reading and writing; toprovide the student with a course that will enable him to usethe language; and to enable the student to work entirely from asingle volume without the need for additional practice books.The new concept introduced by the author to achieve theseaims is particularly that of the multi-purpose text which isiised as a basis for aural comprehension, oral practice, reading,oral composition, dictation, controlled comprehension,précis and composition practice, and written grammarexercises in recall.

developing skills l. g. alexander


Student self-reporting on research skills acquired. Students were administered a postcourse survey. (A) Most students (92.6%) stated that the course met extremely well or well the goal of refining their skills in critical writing, reading, and thinking. (B) Similarly, 92.6% stated that the course met extremely well or well the goal of refining their research skills.

CE 547 Earthquake Engineering: Response of Structures Units: 4Terms Offered: FaDevelop skills for using current knowledge about structural response in the design of earthquake resistant structures. Instruction Mode: Lecture Grading Option: Letter

This article explores teachers' discourses on teachingEnglish Literacy Development (ELD) students in mainstream elementary schoolclassrooms through an examination of their philosophies of teaching andreflections on literacy. The findings are based on empirical qualitative datacollected from interviews with two English-as-a-second language (ESL)/ELDteachers in two school boards in Ontario. Both participants discussed theimportance of developing awareness of and including in classes students'learning and language experiences from outside the formal education system.Challenges perceived in the school communities included the structure ofschooling, the demands of the curriculum, the incorporation of students'unwritten first languages, and negative views of ELD students.

Many terms have been used to describe the ELD student. In general,clear definitions and terms for ELD students tend to be lacking (Brown,Miller, & Mitchell, 2006; DeCapua, Smathers, & Tang, 2009; Freeman& Freeman, 2001; Mace-Matluck, Alexander-Kasparik, & Queen, 1998).Terms such as nonliterate, low-literacy backgrounds, and lower than-expectedlevels of literacy in both their native language and second language havebeen used to describe ELD students (Hamayan, 1994). Freeman and Freeman statethat "they have been labelled as overage, preliterate, or lowliteracy" (p. 203). Another term, used by researchers DeCapua et al., isstudents with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE). However, theseterms continue to label students in terms of what they are missing or lackingrather than of what they are in the process of learning or developing. Inthis study, I refer to this group as ELD students: students who are in theprocess of developing their literacy skills in the English language.

Researchers (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002; Cummins, 2001;Gerin-Lajoie, 2008a) find that there is little training for inclusion,diversity, and language-teaching in teachers' preservice programs.Teachers are often unprepared to deal with teaching new immigrants, let alonethose arriving in the classroom with little prior schooling or exposure toreading and writing in their first language. In Australia, Dooley (2009)reported that a number of ESL teachers had started to create literacy classesfor ELD students based on the view that the level of instruction in the ESLclasses did not address basic literacy skills and on the assumption thatstudents had strong literacy skills in their first languages. Brown et al.(2006) conducted a study on secondary-level ELD students in Australia whowere over the age of 16, predominantly from the Sudan, and who hadexperienced as few as three years of schooling. They reported that ELDstudents perceived the following changes as necessary to their academicsuccess.

Melissa had extensive knowledge of the students' priorlearning experiences. She discussed some students' schooling experiencesin Mexico at parochial schools before they had come to Canada. She describedsome of the students' schools in Mexico as being similar to 1950s ruralschools where students sat in rows and wrote on slate chalkboards. She saidthat before immigrating to Canada, some of the Old Colony Mennonite studentshad attended schools where classes were taught in High German, the languageof their churches, but not a language they understood. They learned to decodeand memorize in German, but often the students' comprehension level wasmuch lower than their decoding skills.

Melissa considered oral language an important component ofstudents' literacy programming, because as she stated, "If they donot know how to talk in English, how can they write English?" However,she found it challenging to teach critical literacy and critical thinkingskills to this group of students. One year, she tried to have her studentsthink critically about gender roles and found that the students becamefrustrated with the topic and in one case angry with her. Sometimestechnology was more successfully incorporated into lessons. Students usedcomputers and followed a strict code of conduct; audiovisual technology wasmore limited, however, as many students were not allowed to watch televisionbecause of their families' religious beliefs.

Denise viewed education as a basic right and responsibility forall students. She believed this, she said, because the power of the writtenword is enormous: "And I think that when we don't have a strongliterate base, people are more easily subject to their rights being tamperedwith and their overall human rights, but also ... individual rights."Denise provided the example of a mother who does not understand themedication that her doctor has prescribed. Basic literacy skills are crucial,as is exposing students to a wide variety of literature and experiences. Shebelieved that teachers must be in tune with their students as whole peopleand create comfortable, low-risk environments where students feel safe takingacademic risks.

With ELD students, Denise found that the best learning happenedwhen she worked with them in small groups. She had a newcomer ESL class of 30students when she first started teaching at that school; consequently, shefound it difficult to create appropriate programming for the ELD students.She found that their literacy needs were much different from those of theother ELLs. When supporting her ELD students in small groups, on the otherhand, she could scaffold the students' learning and guide them indeveloping rich understandings. She liked to use graphic organizers andtechnology such as a talking word-processor to support her students'learning. She said that 90% of the time the ELD students in the schoolreceived oral assessments.

Another important aspect of teachers' philosophies ofteaching is their understanding of schooling and the purpose and structure ofschooling. First, learning can happen in many ways, both in and out ofschool. For ELD students specifically, education needs to be understood assomething that does not happen only in school. Researchers such as Farrell(2008) outline the norms of formal schooling, which include a formalcurriculum, same-age groups, and a building with desks, among others. He saysthat a standard set of practices for formal schooling was created in the Westand spread throughout the world in the forms of colonization andmodernization. However, not all these characteristics of formal schooling mayrespond to the needs of ELD students. For example, Dooley (2009), anAustralian researcher, found that parents, students, and educators all agreedthat aged-based placement was a source of problems. It did not enablestudents to develop their literacy skills to the level necessary forparticipation in critical thinking and intensive academic areas. Deniseobserved what had happened in her school when two ELD students were placed inmainstream classrooms in a formal school setting.

Denise found that teaching basic literacy instruction wasimportant. Dooley's (2009) research into the experiences of ELD studentsin Australian schools found that teachers faced the difficult challenge ofcombining tasks that were conceptually deep and critical while also buildingstudents' basic literacy skills. However, as Dozier, Johnston, andRogers (2007) assert, teachers must not "view some children asconstitutionally beyond the reach of their strategic practice" (p. 12).If teachers view ELD students as incapable of critical framing and deeperreading comprehension activities, they will continually focus on simplereading and writing tasks. Researchers (Freeman & Freeman, 1998;Mace-Matluck et al., 1998) have found that oral language is important to thedevelopment of successful literacy programs for ELD students. If studentshave not learned to read and write, they will rely on their oral language aswell as the visual components of text in their daily lives. As Denise stated,90% of her schools' assessments for ELD students were done orally. Sheasserted that students felt more confident when allowed to work in smallgroups discussing ideas with their peers, and that they became engaged inconversations that focused on their prior knowledge and experiences. ThusDenise's discourse on literacy encompassed the importance of bothbuilding basic literacy skills and scaffolding learning so that students hadthe opportunity to critique constructively what they had learned. 350c69d7ab


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