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Whose responsibility is ESOL in your school?" Primary ESOL Weekly Update - April 7, 2014

Hi everyone,

What a great response to my question, “If you could introduce or change one thing in all schools in New Zealand to improve outcomes for ELL's what would it be? “I asked this to try and continue our discussion on what ESOL leadership should look like. Thank you for all your thoughts and suggestions if only we could wave a magic wand and make them happen.

Here is a summary of your suggestions:

·         That principals/school management need to take the lead for ESOL in a school.

·         Any new changes are implemented through principals rather than through the ESOL teacher who is often marginalised in a school. .

·         That ESOL funding assessments and planning for ESOL students in mainstream classes should be included as a part of teachers’ yearly verification process. These should be checked by the ESOL verifiers to ensure things are being done correctly.

·         All primary and secondary teachers to receive mandatory ESOL pedagogy training as part of their teacher training course.

·         A regular ESOL pedagogy PLD option should be offered to existing teachers.

·         ESOL leadership is only effective if the school leadership support system is in place and when the ESOL leader plays an active role in promoting ESOL teaching and learning including upskilling their colleagues with effective strategies and the use of resources such as SELLIPS, ELLP regardless of the number of ELLs in your classroom.

 Penny Hayworth reminded us that providing appropriate support for ELLs  is not just an Auckland problem as her research shows that teachers in schools where there are just a few ELLs actually need at least as much – if not more - professional input , as they may have an absence of in-house collegial support and expertise.  She also suggested two further readings on this topic.

 I loved Alyson McGee’s question that she asked as part of her research, “Whose responsibility is ESOL in your school?” The answers to this question are very telling. Maybe this is something we should all focus on and think further about. The hard part is how we begin to bring about change if the principal is not on board and it is all left to the ESOL teacher or teacher aide? I know that this is often a difficult situation to try and change particularly if you are isolated or a part-time teacher but we owe it to these students.  I would love to hear your ideas. Maybe you could begin by sharing Alyson’s research findings and some of the discussions we have been sharing as a way of beginning the discussions. It may be easier once her article is published.

 Please continue to think about these questions and share your thoughts.

 Thank you also to Annette for sharing the two powerpoints and a document that she created for upskilling teachers in her school on the use of ELLP for the ESOL funding process.

 I love hearing stories like the one that Felicity shared on the success of the parent literacy modules she has been running at her school.  The response from the parents who now know the value of maintaining and growing first language literacy was heart-warming. They have been very creative using iPad stories, book creator, comics and iWord Q in their home language to reinforce their own language and English as well.  One of the mums excitedly shared an experience where her family chopped out pictures from magazines and papers, and then they created a story using both their first language and English which was very engaging for everyone in the home. This shows the value of forming home-school partnerships and the difference these can make on student learning.

 Don’t forget the cheapest registration fee for CLESOL conference closes on the 11th April so if you want to take advantage of this you only have a couple of days.

 On other communities

 Literacy: Anne shared some great ANZAC resources and asks for feedback from anyone who has used booktrack at http://www.booktrack.com/ . Booktrack Classroom is an exciting new technology that synchronizes audio with text to create an immersive reading experience. Stories published with Booktrack include a customized, movie-style soundtrack that complements the story. Students can create Booktracks for their own writing and share them with their classmates. She outlines more about Booktrack and some related research in this update

Breda asked the following questions which would be good for us to think about as well.What aspect of learning for ELLs would this tool support? What are the pros and cons of using this tool with ELLs? Would it work / not work in your context?

  Secondary Literacy Online Alana shared about teaching with poverty in mind and her learning from the first Pasifika Light the Fire fono. She talks about setting outrageous goals and believing that together we can achieve anything that we put our mind to.

  Items of interest from around the world

 1. Knowing the Learner- An activity compiled by Sarah Hynds of Konini School that enables the learner to share their story. This you tube example uses just a small sample of visual cards but more could be used to allow greater selection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IcrPGvpE7U&feature=autoshare

  2.       Response: Ways To Cultivate 'Whole-Class Engagement' Larry Ferlazzo this has some useful strategies to try.

  3.       The Rolling Question game    EFL Smart Blog – Answering questions for beginners.

  4.       The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition you can listen to most of the keynote speakers and presentations.

  5.       Phraseology – A Writing App that Offers Text Analysis Tools

  6.       Modern pathways to raising Maori achievement  Janelle Riki at a CORE Breakfast.

  7.       Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs bLarry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull-Sypnieski . April 2014 | Educational Leadership, Volume 71 | Number 7  

Have a great week as you begin the count down to the Easter holidays. I look forward to hearing from more of you. Please remember not to just hit the reply button. It is best to begin a new email and enter an appropriate subject line. You may need to summarise what you are responding to at the start of your email

Kind regards

Janet McQueen