English is an international language which originated from West Germany. It was named after Angles which is one of the German tribes that migrated to England in the medieval period. Today, English is the official language in 67 countries. As at 2006, the estimated native English speakers was estimated to be 360-400 million. 400 million people spoke it as their second language, while 600-700 million people spoke it as a foreign language. Over the years, English has become the main language in international discourse in fields such as navigation, law, science and so on. As such, there is need to devise ways to teach English to more people to help them join important global conversations. This paper examines a strategy that can be used to do this concerning the Arizona English Language Proficiency Standards (Mercer, Swann, & Mayor, 2007, p. 45).
The Arizona English Language Proficiency Standards
The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) were established to provide prerequisite language skills to learners who would like to access further academic content. The standards provide a foundation for people starting to learn the English language (Utah State Office of Education, 2007, p. 37).
Sample Reading Learning Experience for English Language Learners (ELLs)
I will focus on teaching the English language to beginner learners in Grades 1-2. These are children who are just starting to learn how to read and write. It is not easy teaching a language to children. However, they learn fast as their brain develops fast at this stage.
I would use video and PowerPoint presentations to make learning English for these kids fun. PowerPoint presentations can be embedded with sound for ease of teaching the kids. Grade 1-2 pupils can see, hear and recite what is being said with the help of these aids.
There is usually a learning curve when it comes to teaching children a new language. English language learners can be categorized into three based on their mastery of the language. We have the pre-emergent learners, the basic learners, and the intermediate learners. Pre-emergent learners are beginners. They are the kids who are getting to see books for the first time. They begin by learning the alphabet mostly. A basic learner is one who has started to understand the meaning of the simple words they read. They can put meaning to a word, rather than just saying it. An intermediate learner is one who is progressing from learning to read, to reading to learn. Such a learner is more focused on understanding what they read (Perfection Learning (Firm), 2009, p. 25).
When dealing with Grades 1-2 English learners, I would teach different things depending on the learning category. For pre-emergent learners, learning letters of the alphabet would be key. This could closely be followed by learning phonetics. The kids can then learn how to read basic greetings, saying their names, their age and numbers 1-5. More numbers can be learned later as they progress with their learning. Pre-emergent readers at this stage can learn the different colors we have, names of fruits, parts of the body, and so on.
Basic readers are a step up as compared to pre-emergent readers. As such, the English classes I would teach them would be more advanced. For instance, they could learn how to describe a family, the different farm animals we have, names of different classroom items, shapes and size, and how to describe different actions related to these nouns. At this stage, the children start learning the plural of different words, as well as saying numbers beyond number 10. They could learn how to say numbers 10-100. As the reading practice progresses, the students can learn how to say the different days of the week and how to describe the weather. They can learn how to name and describe the things we eat.
Intermediate learners take the reading experience a notch higher. I would teach them the names of pets. I would teach them the different time of the day and describe daily routines. This would go hand in hand with knowledge of months of the year. The kids can then learn the different modes of transport, different wears, naming items at their homes, and naming different places. At this stage, the kids can learn how to name different places such as home, church, market, road, and so on. It is at this stage that these learners start to learn how to describe nouns around them in more details.
Besides the use of video and PowerPoint presentations, I would ensure I have a lesson plan. This would make my lessons well organized and as a result easy to follow by the learners. Simplicity is key when it comes to teaching children how to read. Lesson plans go hand in hand with worksheets and craft sheets. For the students to grasp letters and words even faster, I would teach them songs and poems that are easy and fun to recite. Frequent recitation would aid in retention of the new content they learn. This can be done in a classroom environment. The kids can also do it in groups. It would help because its more fun when they are reading with their friends. I could also incorporate word games for them to enjoy the reading learning experience.
In conclusion, learning English is beneficial to every individual who aspires to communicate with people with diverse backgrounds. It starts one step at a time. A good reading learning experience makes it easy for students to learn a foreign language. They find it easy and interesting, and this makes them love the new lingua.
Mercer, N., Swann, J., & Mayor, B. (2007). Learning English. ([U211: exploring the English language] / series editor, Joan Swann and Julia Gillen.
Perfection Learning (Firm). (2009). Texas ELL resource: Handbook for English language proficiency standards. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning.
Utah State Office of Education. (2007). English language learner proficiency standards. Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Office of Education, Planning & Project Services.
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