Become a Catalyst member

Celebrating 25 years of Catalyst

 

Join the conversation

We encourage our readers to leave comments and engage in dialogue about our stories. But before you do, please check out our "rules of the road."

Subscribe to catalyst-chicago.org by e-mail

catalyst-chicago.org feeds

Current Issue

The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Parents: Train teachers to better serve English learners

STEM Magnet Academy parent Christine Bay-Spiric complains that her children, who are English language learners, have met obstacles in school: Unclear homework instructions that she is expected to explain to them. Missing assignments because they couldn’t make up work from days they missed due to a religious holiday.

She and other parents are pinning their hopes for change on a law that State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (24th District) plans to introduce in the next month.

Hernandez announced her proposal Thursday morning at a news conference organized by Gamaliel of Metro Chicago.

The proposed law would create two new required courses that all new teachers must take, in order to give them more training in how to help students who are minorities and English learners.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund will provide Hernandez with assistance in drafting the bill. Both the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools and the parent group Raise Your Hand also support the proposal.

It is possible the changes could also be made by the Illinois State Board of Education, without the requirement of a state bill.

State spokeswoman Mary Fergus notes that “we are continually looking for ways to improve educator preparation programs. We know this is important. Our Advisory Council on Bilingual Education plans to discuss this very topic in March.”

State rules that affect students graduating this summer and later do require new teachers to take a course, workshops, or classes that touch on serving English language learners, but advocates want to require two stand-alone courses on the issue.

Teacher Asma Khudeira from Edwards Elementary said at the press conference that she took numerous workshops on English learners that didn’t help her.

“They were fragmented in nature, they lacked a common purpose, and they were infrequent,” she said. “These should not be an option. They just demote English as a Second Language education to the sidelines.”

She added that her endorsement in teaching English as a Second Language helped her feel “much more prepared, not just to teach English language learners, but to teach all students.”

4 comments

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Serving English learners

This is a critical issue and an awesome idea! However, teachers often find themselves limited in what they can do without the support and guidance of their principals. Principals need to be required to take these courses as well!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

meet half way

Im in a bilingual family. However ....it also my wife's obligation to learn English too. We cant as educators be expected to know everything about every child. Leaving your country means you are willing to accept a new culture. The usa does more than any country about esl students, yet we have the lowest scores. I agree schools not teachers need to fill the gap.

Sandra Stone wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

To Better Serve English Leaners

I was overwhelmed when I was first assigned as a Headstart teacher for Spanish speaking children. For three years, I struggled to find workshops to help me do a better job. I relied on the Spanish speaking assistant teacher to explain what parents said and to tell them what my intentions were for their children. I agonized over what the children were missing because of my lack of training and because there weren't enough ESL books and other resources in my classroom.

And then the state of Illinois intervened (the ONLY state in the union, btw) and mandated that preschool teachers get endorsements to properly teach children who are learning English. I jumped wholeheartedly into a complete training program, 18 hours of college coursework, and also took Spanish classes. I delighted in my students' eagerness to teach me Spanish while I taught them English.

What will happen as Headstarts and preschools are pushed out of public schools and children no longer have teachers with Early childhood degrees/certificates and ESL or Bilingual endorsements? The struggle for better ESL/Bilingual education, beginning in early childhood, is being thwarted by corporate education reform as schools close and early childhood programs disappear from the public school system.

This article gives some insight into the current ESL/Bilingual system that a new state design starting with the mandate for preschool teachers is attempting to reshape. It doesn't mention preschools but I am sure this will become more of a topic in March when CPS not only releases a list of schools to close but also informs the public of its intentions towards early childhood programs in Chicago.

rthfj56653442563 wrote 1 week 2 days ago

awfawfwa

clash of clans hack tutoriel

Bien qu'il ait été acquitté de assassiner, Lee a été reconnu coupable de violation de la «loi de marins" et l'abandon causant la mort et des blessures.
clash of clans triche

Add your comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
go here for more