Collaboration between an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and an English Language Arts (ELA) teacher should be something parents ask about when visiting a potential new school.
English support classes could make a considerable difference to your child’s English acquisition if they receive ELL lessons as soon as they need to, and teachers design lessons for them individually. Parents searching for a new international school in Bangkok for their child should consider carefully how the school provides English language support.
What is ELL, and How is it different from ELA?
ELA is the type of English language class that native English speakers would study in an English-speaking country. For example, in the UK, students study English as native English speakers.
They student topics related to English such as:
- It closely follows a curriculum of a certain country, or a framework such as the International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Informational texts – students are taught to interact with informational texts at a level
- Fictional texts – students are taught the language through grade appropriate unit texts. The language skills required to access material in these texts is similar to that which a native speaker would have in English. That means that in Grade 3 in an American international school, the unit texts will be of a level similar to that which an 8-year-old would have in America.
- Grammar and language points are taught at a level at which a native speaker could access.
ELL is different in that the curriculum is designed specifically for the student, with the goal of them ‘catching up’ as quickly as possible so as to be able to access the ELA curriculum. Often, ELL students will be from families who do not speak English in any way at home.
Indeed, fostering an environment for speaking English at home is one of the best ways for students to improve their English skills and therefore be able to ‘rejoin’ the ELA class.
Criteria of an ELL Class
- Individually differentiated curriculum
- Personalized differentiation which is loosely based on the ELA themes and big ideas
- Opportunities for students to receive a higher proportion of 121 teacher time, to allow the teacher to better understand the student’s needs and therefore better scaffold activities for them.
Think of questions such as:
- How does the school assess my child upon enrolment?
- How is the ELL program adapted or modified to allow access by ELL students?
- How will I know if my child needs ELL support?
These are some useful questions that will help you decide if a school is for you or not.