English Language Learners

‘English language learners’ are people whose native language or languages are different from English. Consequently, English language learners feel the need in additional services with the purpose to improve and develop various types of skills.

It is extremely important to note, that the concept of ‘English language learners’ is closely intertwined with the phenomenon of ESL. English as a second language is primarily used to designate ELLs. English language learners have to enhance the skills in listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Firstly, listening skills provide an opportunity of ELLs to intensify effective communication and to expand the scope of knowledge. Secondly, speaking skills help ELLs to develop successful communication. Thirdly, reading skills deal with the development of ELLs in the processes of reading, evaluating, and responding. Finally, writing skills contribute to aesthetic, informative, and interpersonal aims. Scientists estimate that success of English language learners is based on enormous numbers of factors, including language background, cognitive skills, social factors, experiences and practices in English (Cummins, 2012).

Instruction of ELLs

Instructional strategies should be implemented by teachers in order to stimulate students’ understanding of language. It is rather important to note that instructions or instructional strategies consist of several stages. First, teachers are recommended to maximize literacy engagement of ELLs. This type of instruction encourages ELLs to read and discuss what they have read. Second, teachers may widely apply “scaffold” instructions to ELLs with help of visual aids as well as graphic organizers. Third, teachers may use a specific strategy, which is based on integration of new information or knowledge with skills or information, ELLs already possess. This kind of instruction will motivate English language learners to activate and combine previous and new information. Finally, the instruction grounded on enlargement of knowledge and information across the curriculum has proven its productivity. This instructional strategy provokes curiosity of students about peculiarities of languages (Cummins, 2012).

Language Development and Second Language Acquisition

Native language or mother tongue is a type of language which a child is able to learn without additional conscious efforts. It is a well known fact that native language is learned from birth. One of the most prominent and indispensable peculiarities of a cultural identity is the ability to use a mother tongue. Native language unites people and develops positive qualities and values of a culture. Mother tongue serves as a unique source of ideas, background of intellectual development, and the natural medium of self-expression and origin. Development of native language is based on four major “pillars” that involve so-called interaction of intonation, repetition, questioning, and vocabulary units. In the majority of cases, first language development and acquisition happens in the period of infancy. In such a way, a person usually processes these stages subconsciously. As a rule, the first phase is referred to as “babbling”. During this stage, a child pronounces only random sounds. The second phase is called “holophrastic stage”. Non-verbal communication plays a considerably important role at this stage as it connects words with objects that surround people. The third stage is referred to as “two-word phase”. During this period, a child learns complex phrases and words. Finally, the fourth stage of first language development is named “telegraphic stage” (Hans & Hans, 2014).

The stages of second language development and acquisition slightly differ from first language development. The phases involve the processes of prereproduction, early production, speech emergence, intermediate fluency, and advanced fluent usage of language. Prereproduction is characterized by limited comprehension and minimal stock of words. In the early production, a child starts to grasp the basic concepts. The stage of speech emergence involves construction of primitive phrases and ideas. The fourth stage, called intermediate fluency, includes the emergence of complete ideas and sentences. Finally, the fifth stage provides an opportunity to its users to reproduce complicated sentences, ideas, and thoughts (Hill & Bj?rk, 2008).

Linguistic Accommodations

Linguistic accommodations are so-called language supports, aimed to minimize the language barrier English language learners face in the process of learning skills and knowledge in the English language. In addition, these accommodations are referred to as practices and procedures purposed to lessen students’ limited proficiency in English. It is extremely important to note that linguistic accommodations may be provided to English language learners during instruction and assessment. When making a decision which type of accommodation to use, it is rather important to differentiate the purpose of every instruction or assessment. Linguistic accommodations in the process of instruction of English language learners are based on communication with them using the level, which ELLs have already acquired. Linguistically accommodated type of instruction involves application of instructional materials, methods, techniques, and tools that correspond to the needs of ELLs. Linguistic accommodations during assessment provide access to standard norms and a curriculum. As a result, accommodations during instruction and assessment assist ELLs in the process of understanding peculiarities of language. Moreover, these accommodations accelerate the process of additional skills acquiring (Willner, Rivera, & Acosta, 2008).

Professional Development

At present, many teachers do not have enough skills and trainings, required to ensure high-quality, linguistically accommodated instruction to ELLs. On the contrary, effective professional development should be continuous and integrated as it is aimed to lessen the achievement gap for ELLs. It should be stated that professional training workshops are based on a number of core principles. Firstly, professional development should be based on so-called system of skills, experiences, and knowledge. Secondly, professional teachers should possess enough skills in order to engage participants as learners. Thirdly, successful teachers are required to ensure practice and expect feedback from ELLs. It should be stated that professional development should involve opportunities in the sphere of education for practicing and enlargement of new strategies, experiences, and skills. Finally, successful professional development has to be displayed through considerable changes in the levels of acquired knowledge and skills. Besides, professional development is directly connected with outcomes in performance and results of students (Everling, 2013).

Instructional Strategies

Professionals working with English language learners are required to extend their knowledge and skills in oral language development, academic language, and cultural uniqueness and diversity. It should be mentioned that numerous evidence-based instructional strategies have proven its efficiency in the process of training of ELLs. First of all, a teacher should possess enough skills to combine language and knowledge with the purpose to make learning relevant and meaningful. Secondly, teachers are recommended to ensure opportunity to each ELL to participate in various activities. Thirdly, professional teachers should use instructional kinds of support to accelerate language learning. Fourthly, they have to combine the background knowledge of ELLs with new experiences and skills. Finally, teachers should base the process of acquiring additional skills on discipline-specific topics (Everling, 2013).

As a result, teachers should use innovative ways of teaching strategies and techniques in order to reach positive results. Moreover, teachers are required to understand language as a unique system. Besides, they should be aware of similarities and divergent features of cultures. Teachers’ understanding of differences contributes to creation of reciprocal environment for learning.