451w Blog 7 Teaching English Language Learners and Poverty in Schools

povertyImage: https://saveourschoolsnz.com/2014/02/27/government-error-hides-true-size-of-child-poverty/

This week out of chapter 2 from the book by Larson and Keiper I found this to again be a very informative and helpful read for my future as always, but 2 sections in this chapter stood out to me and hit home with some other topics I have studies in other education classes.  That is teaching English to students of other languages, and school poverty.  I have studied these two topics in some other classes such as multicultural education and school and society, and I always find them to be both interesting and infuriating at the same time.  Both are topics that I learn about and wonder why schools operate in the ways they do or how I would even go about trying to fix the problems I see.  First is teaching English to students of other languages.  In the book they clearly define all the acronyms and categories that school systems put English learners in and some are good and some are bad.  For example, I believe that bilingual education is a great idea, if implemented properly.  I think if students learn the first part of the day in say Spanish for example then English the second half of the day that would be great for the kids learning English when Spanish is their dominant language.  But how does that help the other kids who are not dominant in either language? In my eyes that only creates more problems for those students and puts them further behind the rest of their class.  Then there is just immersion tactics that basically just throw the kids into class with little to no help.  In school and society my teacher did a great exercise where she started class speaking only Spanish and about 2 or 3 kids in the whole room knew what was going on.  And I think back to that time and wonder how we can do that to kids from elementary to high school and expect them to do anything other than fail?  This is where I would hope my school has a ELL teacher I could collaborate with.  But that feeds into my second point, another topic that gets under my skin, school poverty.  Where school funding is based on income tax where the school is located means that the division between rich schools and poor schools grows every year.  Then that leads to schools that don’t have an ELL teacher for example, or their textbooks are years old and all torn up and almost unusable.  This is where I wish the text book would give me strategies on how to go about addressing the issues I have listed, rather than just acknowledge they exist.  I suppose after reading these strategies all I felt informed and grateful that I learned them, but also bothered that I had more questions with harder answers that would probably go unanswered for some time.  That is what I would change about this reading is possibly putting in more guides or solutions for the deeper thinking problems that I will face in teaching, but at the same time I am very grateful for what I have read and learned about, and will implement these strategies in my future classroom.

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