Monday, December 11, 2006

Schools get creative when teaching non-English-speaking students

Michael Abernethy with the Kinston Free Press has written a fantastic piece on how teachers statewide are dealing with a growing non-English-speaking population. The article focuses on teachers who appear to be just fine with the challenges.

"Like many teachers, Ramon Jones has adapted to teaching students who speak multiple languages," says the article.

"The La Grange Elementary second-grade teacher routinely uses hands-on activities and pictures to help students with vocabulary and concepts. He also pairs native English speakers and students who speak English as a Second Language (ESL) together for class work, play and other activities.

" 'Teaching ESL students isn’t a huge challenge. Sure, it’s something: It’s a barrier if they don’t know any English,' Jones said. 'But I’m up to the challenge.'

"State and federal law requires public schools to educate all students, regardless of language barriers. In recent years, No Child Left Behind has placed significant importance on educating students identified through testing as Limited English Proficient (LEP) by measuring schools on LEP students’ performance on state tests.

"This year, North Carolina added 14,000 LEP students, bringing the state total to 97,000 students. Most of that growth can be attributed to the growing Hispanic population. Between 1990 and 2004, 57 percent of public schools’ enrollment growth came from Hispanics. ..."

Read on for the rest of this fascinating piece.

2 comments:

Jason B. Graves said...

Great story! I'm glad the problem is being addressed positively instead of being attacked by parents negatively. LEP students can disrupt a class but there are teaching styles to overcome that and it sounds like it's working. Doesn't eastern NC have a large Hispanic population?

M. Lail said...

Jason,
Actually, while ENC does have a huge hispanic population, areas such as around Siler City, Harnett County and even Wake County (highest increase per year, I believe) have really high percentages.