+ Three Must-Know Concepts in ESL For content teachers + First Concept: Linguistic “I found the issues of morphology, phonology, and syntax revealing and helpful. It is important to understand how and why ELLs experience difficulties with sound production, word formation, word order, and understanding sentence patterns. When teachers realize these things, they can select strategies and activities to help make ELLs’ language acquisition successful.” "I've seen the phonetic alphabet before, but didn't know what each represented. This information helps me explain to my students why certain letters sound different. It was also helpful to see the explanation of why Spanishspeaking students pronounce words incorrectly.” + Phonology—Significant sounds in a language Phonology is the study of the significant sounds in a language. Each language has its own phonology, and even though many sounds may be shared among languages, some sounds may exist in one language and not another. When this happens, the speaker tends to substitute a sound in the native language that approximates the sound in the second/foreign language. Example: The English –th, as in father and thorough, does not exist in many languages. The French speaker says, “My fazer is very sorough in his work.” (My father is very thorough in his work”). + Phonology The rules of phonology also specify which sounds may occur in word initial and word final positions. Many Asian languages do not have as many consonant clusters in word final positions as English does, making it difficult for speakers to pronounce such words as asked / æskt/ or talked /tɔkt/. English has 14 vowels, but Spanish has only 5. When speaking English, Spanish speakers may substitute an existing sound in Spanish for an English one, as in pronouncing sick /sIk/ as seek /sik/. + Morphology Morphology is the study of word and word formation, including affixes (prefixes and suffixes). Speakers will sometimes transfer the word formation rules of their own language to English. Example: Romance language speakers may prefer the more or most forms for comparative and superlative adjectives when English calls for –er or –est: Carlos was more big than his brother. Example: Speakers may overgeneralize the past tense forms of verbs to irregular forms: Ella eated her lunch. + Syntax Syntax refers to the rules that govern word order. Syntax is specified in English. Students must learn the order of words in basic statements and questions as well as the specific order of noun phrases and verb phrases in both affirmative and negative forms. When there is a difference in the student’s native language, there may be some interference. Example: A French speaking student may say or write, Mary has a dress red instead of Mary has a red dress because color adjectives follow nouns in the French noun phrase. + Second Concept: Error Correction "I learned about the different errors students make (global and local). I now know not to over correct or under correct errors. I know to take into consideration the learner's needs, level of language proficiency, and personal reaction to error correction before correcting." + Global Errors and Local Errors and Mistakes Global errors—incorrect forms that hinder communication Example: “The different city is another on in the another two.”* Local errors—a minor violation of the correct form but the hearer or reader understands the message Example: “Does John can sing?” (examples from Brown, p. 262) Mistakes—a slip of the tongue, something not pervasive in the ELLs’ speech Example: “I like fruits and vegetables, maybe turpin greens. Yes, turnip greens are very good.” + Where do errors come from? Interlanguage transfer—the student refers to first language knowledge when unfamiliar with the second language Example: the Spanish speaker may say “sheep” instead of “ship.” Intralanguage transfer: the student overgeneralizes rules in the second language, for example, by regularizing irregular verbs Example: “I goed to the zoo.” + When to correct Help students work through global errors by helping them rewrite or restate their comments. Doing so aids communication. Decide whether correcting local errors is disruptive to communication and impedes the student from conversing. If not, then correct. If the focus is on the message, do not correct. Mistakes can be ignored if the student knows the correct form and the mistake was a simple slip in performance. + How to correct Keep in mind that overcorrecting may result in the student refusing to take risks in speaking and writing. Types of Feedback Recast Expand utterance Clarification request Ask student for clarification Metalinguistic feedback Comment on the form of the utterance Elicitation Prompt student to self-correct Explicit correction Provide the correct form Repetition Repeat the utterance with corrections Brown (277-78) + Important: Acquisition of some forms is developmental Students may go through the same developmental process of acquiring some forms in English. Example: The acquisition of negation goes through various stages: “I no like football.” “I no can play football.” “I do not can play football.” “I cannot play football” or “I do not play football.” + Important: Acquisition is not linear A teacher was overheard saying, “ I know Juan can speak English better. I heard him talking to his classmates, and he spoke correctly. When I call on him, he pretends not to know English and makes lots of mistakes.” Students make progress and then sometimes regress. Teachers should not interpret that as defiance or lack of intelligence. + Third Concept—Legal Issues "One of the most important things that I learned was about the legal issues surrounding ESL. I've heard people at my school express sentiments along the line of ‘I don't understand why we have to teach them, we know they're illegal and it shouldn't be our responsibility.’" + Federal and State Laws on the Education of ELLs* Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Office of Civil Rights Memorandum (Standards for Title VI Compliance) of May, 1970 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1973 Requirements based on the Supreme Court decision in Lau v. Nichols, 1974 Equal Education Opportunities act, 1974 + Federal and State Laws on the Education of ELLs continued Requirement of Vocational Education Guidelines, 1979 Requirements based on the Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe, 1982 Americans Florida with Disabilities Act (PL 94-142) Education Equity Act, 1984 + Legislation: The Least You Should Know Federal Laws Title VI, Civil Rights Act, 1964,-no person may be denied rights and benefits of citizenship because of race, color, or national origin Lau V. Nichols, 1974, U.S. Supreme Court—a child must have basic English skills to participate in the educational process and may not be denied access to education because of limited English. Plyler v. Doe, 1982, U. S. Supreme Court—upheld Texas court ruling that undocumented children have the same right to a free public education as U.S. citizens and permanent residents. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001—makes school districts accountable for the education of all children, including ELLs. + References Ariza, E., et al (2006). Why TESOL? Theories & issues in the teaching English to speakers of other languages in K-12 classrooms. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. Brown. H. D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching (5th ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman.