87. How do you know if an ESL student is using his/her language, culture, religion as a means of not doing his work, as a reason or excuse of getting out of assignments?

I do not know if I will ever know how a student may use h(is/er) language, culture, or religion as a means of not doing h(is/er) work. What I DO KNOW is that, if a student says, "I cannot do this assignment." I must then ask, "Well, what assignment can you do that compares to the assignment I am asking students to do?" And I may accept the choice the student proposes!!!!!

Sometimes students may refuse to do an assignment because they do not have enough information to do the assignment. For example, on Question # 85, above, writing an essay may be very difficult for some students. They may be embarrassed to say so, so they may prefer to excuse themselves on account of their language, or their culture, or their religion.

To avoid this type of assignment evasion, teachers MUST provide as much information about an assignment as possible. For example:

I will NEVER ask a student, any student, but never an English Language Learner, to READ some paragraph or section or chapter of a book that I –the teacher—have not developed thoroughly in terms of:

  1. the vocabulary,
  2. the visual message conveyed in the printed passage,
  3. the language patterns,
  4. the idiomatic expressions, etc.

It is a very difficult assignment for ANY students, but especially for English Language Learners, to look up every other word in a dictionary, to understand which meaning of the word is being used, which idioms, etc. But many teachers DO assign such difficult readings to students.

I PERSONALLY SAW A 4TH GRADE TEACHER DOING THIS IN CLASS, ASSIGNING A READING SELECTION TO HER STUDENTS, INCLUDING LIMITED-ENGLISH PROFICIENT STUDENTS AND LOW ACHIEVING MINORITY STUDENTS. Then she asked students to formulate questions about the story to ask the other students in the class!!!!!

I worked with one of the LEP students, going over the story and ascertaining how much comprehension the student had of the story. Well, the student had ZERO understanding, and could not decipher or decode or read with meaning 50% of the words in the story (It was an African version of the story of "Cinderella")

If I would have been this student, I would have claimed my religion, or my culture did not allow me to do the assignment!!!!

I think it is MOST important for teachers to truly TEACH before they assign students to do an assignment or homework, that is, an extension, a very meaningful extension, of the KNOWLEDGE ALREADY GAINED in class AS A RESULT OF THE teaching.

 


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.

 

For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:

CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.

Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net