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ESL Team Flexible in Keeping Up with Student Needs
Monday, December 04, 2017
Have you ever wondered how non-native English speakers get the supports they need to be successful in school?
WSWHE BOCES has a range of itinerant services available to school districts, one of them is English as Second Language (ESL). The service is provided to students identified by the Home Language Questionnaire as children from a home where a language other than English is spoken. These students are tested with the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners. ESL service is provided according to these results. Student progress is measured each year by the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
ESL teachers are trained in techniques for communicating with speakers of other languages who have limited English proficiency, as well as speaking, listening, reading and writing. They teach in kindergarten to twelfth grade, integrating language instruction with subject content areas. Their students come from around the world, representing a variety of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. ESL students are children of adoption, migrant families, restaurant workers, international business people, refugees, and many other home situations.
“Our field is influenced quite literally by anything going on in the world today – a hurricane, a financial crisis - anything that can cause migration or displacement,“ says Ann Marie Adamick, an ESL teacher who serves the Stillwater and Mechanicville school districts.
These situations make it very hard to plan.”We continuously adjust and figure it out. That is the great thing about being part of a larger team,” says Adamick.
Students on Adamick’s service speak Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Urdu (Pakistan) and Russian as their native language.
ESL teachers are attentive to the needs of this special population, assisting them in integrating into a community, in a new society and culture. With changing regulations and new technologies, ESL teachers continually adapt their practices to meet the many different specific needs of their students. The ESL service has grown steadily over the past decade, so much so that many component districts have hired their own ESL teachers. The WSWHE BOCES ESL team has grown to eleven full-time teachers.
It is great to know that these students are getting the supports that they need.