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Cherishing the Long View

Kia orana

This week is Cook Island Māori language week which I think very appropriately follows straight on from New Zealand Māori language week. Last week I shared the New Zealand Curriculum page on this special week. The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs also has a calendar of events which celebrate this week. It would be great to find something that your class can join in on or for yourself to extend your knowledge. “ Knowing a Pasifika language is not a barrier to being successful in English-medium schooling. Teachers who value and share the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom and deliberately build their English language skills help their Pasifika students to succeed”, from Pasifika Education Community website.

The Long View – exemplary ESOL practice

Last week I was really encouraged to read the spotlight on schools story in the latest July MOE ESOL Update which looks at the importance of the long view. The story highlights as example of best practice lead by Mrs E the ESOL teacher/coordinator and the difference she makes for her students. What struck me was the holistic nature of her care and the way the support offered is integrated throughout the school within all classrooms. It is obviously based on good relationships that she has established with all staff and her students and their families but also upon her example of good practice continually being built across many years, rather than resting on her laurels. Many types of support are mentioned in the article and I am sure these are just a sample of what she does.

My challenge to all ESOL Teachers and ESOL school leaders this week is to read the article and then reflect on your own practice. No matter whether you are new to ESOL or have been involved for a long time I firmly believe that we all have new things to learn and should be constantly improving our practice as our students deserve our best. You may like to develop your own questions or use mine. If you feel you are too busy to do this over the coming week then please book a time in your diary as a reminder.

Reflection questions  

  1. In your school how do you ensure that ELL’s rate of language acquisition continues to grow and is sufficient? How do you track this across their time at your school and communicate with classroom teachers about their progress, especially at transition points and beyond their involvement in an ESOL programme?

The new ESOL Online Impact section is a good source of guidance on the assessment of students including your initial diagnostic assessments. In particular see Assessment processes, tools and resources and tracking progress and reporting sections.

 2. Do you have strong procedures to support new ELLs arriving in your school? How could this process be strengthened?

The new ESOL Online Getting Started section has more information and resources on this. In particular see What to do when a new English language learner arrives? Which has a supplementary enrolment form that you could use to find out more about the student at enrolment?  

 3. Does your school have strong communication with diverse families? Do you know and use language experts and the language resources available within your community? Do you pre-empt communication around important school events? Are diverse parent groups involved in all aspects of school life? How could you strengthen communication with all families in your school?

See in the new Getting Started section how can we engage effectively with families and communities?

 4. Are all cultures recognised and celebrated in your school and are they incorporated into your teaching programmes, across all subjects? Do you include diverse parents in the leadership of parent evening programmes? Is recognition of various languages and culture visible?

 5. Do ELLs receive strong multi-faceted, rich language support both in withdrawal programmes and within their regular classroom? Is the programme taught closely linked with the students classroom programme? Are teacher aides and support staff provided with appropriate guidance and support? Do students have access to resources they can use at home to practice and to continue their language learning? Does the school language support programme mainly incorporate the use of interactive, communicative activities? How could the use of digital technology support the programme or lead to flipping some aspects of the programme?

For more information see the new getting Started section particularly what funding and types of programmes are available for English language learners? Also how can teachers understand and teach additional language learning effectively?

 6. Does your school have strong ESOL policies which are reviewed regularly and is the progress of ELLs achievement regularly reported on to the school Board of Trustees? Do you have strong school leadership support for ELLs?

See How can school leaders support English language learners?

 7. Do you continue to grow professionally? Do all staff at your school continue to grow professionally in their knowledge of language teaching and support for diverse learners? Do you show ESOL leadership and share your knowledge with other staff in your school?

See What professional development and support is available?

 8. What are the areas of greatest ESOL strength in your school? Where are the weaknesses? Does something new need to be developed? What will you focus on first? Who do you need to discuss this with and how will you get the support you need? What can you put in place now and when will you schedule the actions that are needed in order to make this happen? How will you monitor the success of the implementation of the changes made?

Further reading:

Linked to this article you may like to read these old weekly updates on similar topics. I have linked these posts to the VLN primary group blogs as no password is required. You can also find them in the ESOL Online archives. To access the archives you will find the link by scrolling down the community page.

Other Communities

Have a fabulous week

Kia manuia