English Language Learners Philosophy of Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Even when they are given a large number of students, teachers know that they must make at least some attempt to individualize their lessons, or at least allow for different learning styles. For teachers of English as a second language, this is often even more pronounced. Students learning English as a second language often come from different backgrounds that make the task easier and harder. First, language acquisition is a skill much different than math, science, or other academic disciplines. Instead, learning a language requires not simply the rote memorization of words and grammar, but instead the ability to synthesize vocabulary, grammar, and meaning in order to achieve fluency. Students "need opportunities to grapple with concepts by discussing topics in meaningful and productive ways" (151). Thus, the English language classroom looks for "meaningful discourse," as well as contributions from students that make that meaning (151). While enhancing the quality of education, this can make teaching in this environment rather difficult.

Further, individuals from Latin-based backgrounds may find this task easier, as they do not have to struggle so much with the arbitrary nature of sound or words and meaning. That is, because students who speak French or Spanish have sound systems more familiar with the English language than say, Chinese, they may be able to understand the meanings of words that sound like words in their own language, making the difficult process of language acquisition and fluency more manageable. Because of these differences in students learning English as a second language, many English as a second language teachers must determine courses of action specific to their students. In addition to basing curriculum on the popular learning styles -- sensing and intuitive, visual and verbal, and sequential and global -- (Felder and Solomon nd) teachers of English as a second language must also choose from the many methods of teaching this discipline effectively. The choice of method is determined based on the students' background, learning style, and other factors that the teacher finds relevant.

Because the teacher must make these decisions regarding method, theory, and practice, however, he or she must be well versed in the theories, methods, and practices available to students of English language learners. Unlike physicians, who often have time to read and research before diagnosing a patient, time is crucial when it comes to English language learners. Often, they must become comfortable in understanding and communicating in English quickly in order to have the best chance of succeeding academically. For this reason, teachers need to "understand

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