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Posted on November 25, 2012 2:04 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Reasonable Expectations
For my Methods for English Language Learners (ELL) course at the university, I was assigned to interview two upper-elementary students who were recent immigrants. I picked one Asian and one Hispanic student for the interview, both of whom had good English proficiency. Before talking to the students, I talked to the classroom teacher, Mrs. Morgan. As an experienced teacher, Mrs. Morgan really impressed me with her knowledge about how to teach English Language Learners. She said the most important thing in teaching ELLs was setting reasonable expectations for their performance. When I interviewed the students the next day, I learned a lot about ELLsí experiences. The Asian student said he was confused most of the time. The teacher gave him difficult tasks without detailed directions. He had to rely on his classmates to figure out what to do. The Hispanic student felt like the teacher did not think much of him. He said that especially in math the problems the teacher gave him were too simple for him. He also mentioned that the teacher never called on him. Mrs. Morgan asked me to share my interview findings with her. What should I tell her? What do you think is problematic about Mrs. Morganís beliefs and practices?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted December 8, 2012 4:17 pm

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 114
You should definitely inform Mrs. Morgan of your findings. If one student feel s that they are confused and have to rely on their classmates to figure out what to do and the other student feels the work is difficult and was not given detailed directions their teacher should be informed. Itís possible the teacher may feel that the Asian student may not need any additional help and can work well on their own and feel that the Hispanic student does not understand the work so she makes it easier for him and doesnít call on him to answer question. Mrs. Morgan may believe in the stereotypes that all Asians are smart and Hispanics are not. Both students are suffering academically and Mrs. Morgan should be informed.
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Solution 2
Posted December 9, 2012 12:18 pm

Anna Washinger
Anna Washinger
Reps: 121
I would absolutely tell Mrs. Morgan about your findings. I believe it is necessary for the sake of the students. You must find a balance for these English Language Learners. One student finds his tasks too difficult and one finds his too easy. You can easily explain this to Mrs. Morgan in a polite, kind way. I honestly believe she will appreciate you telling her about your findings because it sounds like she does care about these students. The issue at hand is getting the students where they need to be and where they feel comfortable. In both cases of the students, neither one feels like they are making progress. I believe each ELL should have his/her own special expectations that are well thought out and reasonable. I think it may be good to give the students work that ranges from easy, moderately difficult, and difficult. This way, you are neither assuming that the student can do difficult work, nor are you underestimating the students abilities. By doing this, you may be able to find where the ELL is most comfortable and begin there.
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Solution 3
Posted November 29, 2012 6:35 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
In dealing with all types of people, it is important to include positives with negatives. I would ask the students what does occur in the classroom that is positive or helps them in their learning process. I would tell Mrs. Morgan how the students feel, because it is always important to have the children's best interest in mind (that is of course, if you feel Mrs. Morgan will not retaliate again the children-hopefully most teachers would not!). It is important for Mrs. Morgan to know that while setting reasonable expectations for ELL students, it is important to follow up with their progress. By you telling Mrs. Morgan the problems her children are having in her class, could possibly prevent other students from struggling in years to come.
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Solution 4
Posted December 8, 2012 9:30 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
It sounds like Mrs. Morgan is highly underestimating the abilities of her ELL students. Having a language deficiency does not mean a student has a learning deficiency. Instead of trying to go "easy" on these students, she should challenge them just as much as her other students. She just needs to remember to have a little more patience with her ELL students. Just because they can not speak the language does not mean they are stupid. You should tell her that.
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Solution 5
Posted December 9, 2012 9:38 am

Suzi Hancock
Suzi Hancock
Reps: 134
I would tell Mrs. Morgan what the students said, but I would word it so that it doesn't sound negative. Constructive criticism is necessary in the teaching profession, but don't just tell her all of the bad stuff. Tell her the strengths and weaknesses that the students reported, just use a compassionate tone. You don't want her to return to class defensive, because then everyone will be having a hard time in the class.
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Solution 6
Posted December 4, 2012 11:46 am

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
I think that you should definitely tell Mrs. Morgan about your findings. If she is an experienced teacher, she probably cares about her job and her students and the only way for her to know what is wrong is if she is told! I think Mrs. Morgan was just trying to help and be realistic, but she ended up not really getting through to the students on the level they wanted to be approached at.
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Solution 7
Posted December 4, 2012 6:20 pm

Sha'keela McClendon
Sha'keela McClendon
Reps: 141
Yes I think you should tell Mrs. Morgan about your interview and you should only tell her the truth. This way Mrs. Morgan will see her mistake. I think Mrs. Morgan's problem is that she stereotypes her students. I don't know if you this or not but the stereotype that I know of for Asian students is that they are really smart especially in math and Hispanic students tend to be slower. She gave the Asian student work she thought wasn't difficult while she gave the Hispanic student something that was too easy. Not once did you mention did Mrs. Morgan make en effort to know where these students learning ability stood. How can you set reasonable expectations if you don't know where your students are to begin with?
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Solution 8
Posted December 5, 2012 10:27 pm

Jill Graff
Jill Graff
Reps: 104
Tell Mrs. Morgan what the students have said. Although she may have a grasp about how to teach ELL students she may not be following her own train of thought. I think as teachers sometimes we can talk the talk, but walking the walk takes A LOT more effort then we thought and we don't follow through with things.(Lots of things sound good out loud, but when you get to the nuts and bolts sometimes it is way more work than you needed at the time.) Maybe you could suggest things that would help them or offer some tutoring time of your own to the students while you are in the building.I don't think Mrs. Morgan would mind you helping the students at all, because she might not have even noticed if they were getting help from others as long as their grades were good.
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Solution 9
Posted December 6, 2012 7:51 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I would give her the constructive criticism she needs. We all must have someone at times to help us see where we are misleading our students. It is for their best benefit. Mrs. Morgan is obviously not taking enough time to really know her students and their abilities. She is not creating an atmosphere where the students feel free to ask questions and not wander on in confusion. She also is underestimating the Hispanic child. I think that sometimes teachers think that all immigrant students are low level learners and that they will have a difficult time with every bit of the coursework. However, we must look at each child individually and ascertain their specific level and what best will work for them. You cannot fit every ELL into a cookie cutter mold.
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Solution 10
Posted December 6, 2012 9:15 pm

Melissa Tolbert
Melissa Tolbert
Reps: 104
I think there are many positive and professional ways to approach Mrs. Morgan about the findings. For example, when discussing what you learned from the Hispanic student, I would start with this student feels that his work especially in math is too easy for him and he would like to be challenged with harder material. Then maybe add that when he gets work that is too easy for him, he can sometimes feel as though people assume that he is not capable of harder material. Creating a continuous and comfortable between that student and the teacher will build respect and give a better indication of what work level is appropriate.
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Solution 11
Posted December 7, 2012 12:56 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
I would first ask Mrs. Morgan about the students grades and her feelings about their abilities. I would then suggest that maybe these two students don't fit into the typical sterotype for Asian and Hispanic students. I would then share the students' opinions with Ms. Morgan, but in a gentle way. She should welcome your findings if she wants to improve her teaching practices, just be sure not to sound rude or judgemental in any way.
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Solution 12
Posted December 7, 2012 5:07 pm

Laine Vilardi
Laine Vilardi
Reps: 119
It sounds like Mrs. Morgan may be saying one thing and doing something different not knowing how her students are feeling. I would most definitely suggest that you share the findings with Mrs. Morgan, but before you do that, I would suggest talking to the student briefly to find out what qualities the student likes about her. Having some positive things to say could definitely help to offset the news you would be bringing her about her students feelings. You also want to be careful how you present the information to the teacher. You don't want her to feel defensive or for her to harbor feelings against the student (which is unlikely). Either way though, the student will only what he needs academically if the teacher knows and can provide it to him. It sounds like she is pretty unsure of his capabilities presently, so I think talking to her about it would probably be best.
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Solution 13
Posted December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
Evidently, you should let Mrs. Morgan know what your interview responses were. How is she going to improve her teaching if she is not aware that she is doing something wrong? Therefore, it is necessary that you let her know about the problems that both students are experiencing in her class. Also, I would tell her that ignoring a child is not going to solve anything or improve his English. Teachers tend to underestimate migrant children because they assume that this child is not competent with the rest of the children. Overall, I would tell her that she needs to read more books about how to educated immigrant students to extend and improve her teaching.
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Solution 14
Posted February 17, 2013 8:18 pm

Alison Williams
Alison Williams
Reps: 30
You should always be honest. Never tell a lie even if the truth burns. Thereís nothing wrong with good constructive criticism. I think constructive criticism helps you become a better teacher. I think itís a great idea that you talked with the students because you got their honest reactions about their experiences. When it comes to the Asian student, I will give him assignments with clear, detailed instructions. I would maybe break down the task into smaller steps so he wonít feel so overwhelmed. She may base her instruction based on the Asian stereotype that Asians are extremely smart. As for the Hispanic student, I think Mrs. Morgan is underestimating what this student can do. She may have other students that are Hispanic and are not doing as well. She may be basing her instruction on other peopleís learning capabilities. Children learn at different rates. If the Hispanic student is doing well on the first set of problems, I would like to make the problems a little more challenging. If the school work is too easy, he must be bored. Mrs. Morgan has to keep her students engaged in learning. The more engaged the students are, the more effort they will put into their work.
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