|Presenting my research at the NCHC Conference in Chicago.|
Now, you may be wondering, how does this affect you as a mainstream teacher? Well, I am here to tell you just how important ELL education is, and that it does affect YOU and EVERY teacher in the United States. For one, we need to understand the goals and process of the public education system in the United States. In its 2007 report, The Center on Education Policy attributed these main themes to the mission of public education:
- To guarantee equal opportunities for all children
- To unify a diverse population
- To prepare people for citizenship in a democratic society
- To prepare people to become economically self-sufficient
- To improve social conditions (Kober 7).
Historically, ELLs have been the ones to suffer in the public education system, especially in the mainstream classroom. Although federal law "requires programs that educate children with limited English proficiency to be: based on a sound educational theory; adequately supported, with adequate and effective staff and resources, so that the program has a realistic chance of success; and periodically evaluated and, if necessary, revised" (Questions and Answers), ELLs have been overlooked and displaced in the system. Our mission and goal as teachers in the public education system is to do everything we can to successfully educate the youth of America no matter their race, socioeconomic status, gender, disability, or first language. Every child in America deserves a teacher who will fight for them and do everything humanly possibly to put them on the right path to succeed in school and in life. We wouldn't be teachers if this wasn't our ultimate goal...well, we wouldn't be good teachers at the least. I want to leave you with one final statistic. In the 2012-2013 school year, a whopping 4.4 million, or 9.2%, of K-12 public school enrollment consisted of English Language Learners (The Condition). This number, as we know it, is on the rise, and ELLs need quality teachers to help them flourish and get that opportunity like every other student. Will you be someone's champion? Will you give a little extra attention to the quiet Vietnamese boy in the back of the room? What about the Mexican girl who can't sit still? Who will you be? If you're scared and you don't know how to handle ELLs in your classroom, you are NOT alone. I hope I can help provide you with the resources and strategies that you need to stand up and help ELLs succeed.