Although I have attempted to scaffold and break-down key elements of our learning and language, I know my ESOL students are not getting enough of my attention and support to ensure their success in my subject.
Recently, I sat down with my 2 ESOL kids and discussed a realistic plan moving forward. One of my students had chosen to return to year 13 having completed part of her course last year, so this is her second year in my class and she had returned to gain her level 3 over 2 years. Last year, she managed to achieve one of the 4 credit internal standards in Senior Social Studies and also gained an achieved in one of her NCEA level 3 History exam papers which was awesome. Her goal this year was to gain at least 10 more credits in my subject area as part of her career pathway.
My other student migrated to New Zealand at the beginning of last year and according to our English support teacher, was 'very low in her language comprehension and acquisition'. Both students have a teacher aide sit with them for one of our double periods in class which has helped enormously with relaying ideas and learnings to them but the struggle has been the lack of opportunity to apply these learnings to a context that they could relate to.
I have been reading about how do this better and have found the TKI site 'Language enhancing the achievement of Pasifika' site useful. Under 'Language and school', there are tools and strategies shared that I want to try out.
At the moment, my year 13's are being asked to write a 'Reflection' on the social actions that they'd completed earlier in the term. I have provided different opportunities to reflect and now students are writing them. I have realised that I have assumed that my students knew what the concept of reflection was and instead of allowing my ESOL students the time to process it, I have been trying to rush them to the next stage without them being ready. One of the strategies that I want to use will be to extend their vocab by paying special attention to it. Instead of trying to get them to write the reflection, I will get them to 'know the word' better so that they can apply it practically when necessary. I will start with a checklist that can support them in their vocab learning.
|A tool to support my ESOL learners|
A common tool we use in Social Studies is a concept map that allows different ways to use a concept and allows student to become familiar with a concept at the start of a unit. This will take a bit of time but it will be worth it for my ESOL learners to ensure that they come away with key vocab which will enrich their learning.
|A concept map for 'Reflection'|