Portfolios a valuable tool for ELLs
- It's been known for some time that portfolios benefit students by granting them ownership of their learning and self-regulation skills, but research cited by educator and researcher Kevin Wong in Edutopia also demonstrates how they can benefit English language learners.
- Portfolios can help ELLs approach the language in a less-intimidating manner by increasing their awareness of their development, and Wong's article includes a downloadable checklist for elementary students that breaks the process into goal setting, monitoring and reflecting.
- The goal setting stage encourages ELLs to embrace creativity in spite of any errors they might make, while the monitoring offers students conferencing and feedback in relation to their goals. Reflection has them look back at both the piece they just wrote and their overall development.
States and districts have long been divided on how to best serve English language learners, with some embracing bilingual inclusivity while others stick to English-only learning. The number of students who don't speak English at home, however, was estimated at around 4 million in 2016.
Writing standards can present a particular challenge for these students, and, like Wong, others have suggested focusing on aspects beyond perfect grammar. "Navigating the Common Core With English Language Learners" authors Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski previously wrote, for example, that educators should focus primarily on standards around argument, informative/explanatory and narrative in ELL's writing, in addition to offering collaborative projects for peer-learning benefits.
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