As a component of EDSP 6644, I investigated what research has to say about inclusive instruction for ELL students. I decided to investigate this topic because I believe that the ELL students at my school are underserved. The school I currently work in has a very small ELL population, and I think because of this many students are under supported or even not identified as being in need of language support. The ones who are identified often receive support through our special education program, rather than a program specifically designed for ELLs.
The research I read while composing the peer review paper shown in figure 1, argued that ELLs benefit from being integrated into a general education classroom. However, in order for inclusion to be successful teachers need to have knowledge of skills and teaching practices that can help ELLs to further develop their language skills. For example, an article by López and Iribarren (2014) recommends that teachers learn some key words in the student’s native language, in order to help the student learn and understand the course content. Schools also need to make an effort to fully integrate students and their families into their school community, in a way that lets them know they are welcome. To accomplish this goal, schools should incorporate activities that embrace and celebrate the diverse cultures represented by their student population. In order for all of these recommendations to be successful, it is vital that school and district leaders provide the needed professional development for teachers.
Investigating inclusive education for ELL students has helped to make me more prepared to have ELL students in my general education classroom. I now know that learning words from a student’s native language can help to teach them academic content as they are acquiring English language proficiency. I also know that wherever I end up teaching, as an educator I need to advocate for ELL students to be served in inclusive settings. By integrating ELLs into the general education classroom with teachers that are prepared to support their language skills, students can not only pick up English at a faster rate, but they can also develop valuable social relationships and feel more included in the school community. As I head into my first year of full-time teaching, I plan to utilize the knowledge I acquired from developing this peer review, in order to better serve my ELL students.
Francesca López & Jacqueline Iribarren (2014) Creating and Sustaining Inclusive Instructional Settings for English Language Learners: Why, What, and How, Theory Into Practice, 53:2, 106-114, DOI: 10.1080/00405841.2014.885810