Sunday, December 20, 2009


I have one student in my first period class who is an ELL (English Language Learner) student receiving support from ELL staff. (I have many other ELL students, but they are significantly advanced in their English that they no longer need or are granted ELL support.) She does not attend class that regularly, but each morning that she does, a staff member comes to class to check on her. The staff member usually spends time translating what is going on in class, but I have noticed that he also tells her how to do each step (like “measure this, then multiply by that”). I have observed this in other classrooms where I have witnessed support staff doing similar things. It seems unlikely that this kind of support is in the best interest of the student—yes it is efficient on the part of the support staff and perhaps makes the student feel more comfortable. I’m not sure how she would know how to do any of the problems on her own without being given the opportunity to work through them on her own. On another note, I’ve noticed that because I know that my ELL student has support, I actually interact with her less than other students, and I feel terrible about this. I’ve heard that this is a common unintended consequence of this kind of ELL support structure. I’ve been trying to make an attempt to reverse this pattern, but she hasn’t been coming to class on the days that I’ve been there.

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