ELL & Special Education example

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ELL & Special Education

It is not easy to understand whether English language learners (ELL) need special education. It is often difficult to distinguish language differences from learning disabilities (Nguyen 130). Teachers may confuse low language proficiency with cognitive disability (Zimmerman 2). Therefore, educators need to consider different things when they assess ELL for special education services. Teachers should consider students who make no or uneven progress and students who make lower progress than other students with similar background. They should consider deficits in cognitive processing skills and problems in reading, spelling, understanding of texts, writing, and speaking.

They may consider weak phonological awareness (Adelson, Geva, and Fraser 4-5).Teachers should consider students’ knowledge of first and second languages (Ortiz and Yates 67-68). Students who need special education have difficulties in all languages including reading, speaking, and writing. It is difficult for them to combine these skills and put ideas on paper. Their grammatical knowledge is poor and they do not use this knowledge and context to understand texts (Adelson, Geva, and Fraser 4, 6-8, Dunn and Walker 104-106). That is why teachers should consider results of education tests in native language and in English (Ortiz and Yates 76-77, Zimmerman 3). Standard tests may involve bias.

They do not reflect learning styles of students (Terry and Irving, 115-116, 119). Therefore, teachers should use different testing tools (Ortiz and Yates 75). A teacher should consider restrictive environment. Such environment can make it difficult for students to learn (Ortiz and Yates 83, Shore and Sabatini 9-10). A teacher needs to know cultural and family context of a student and adapt assessment tools to it. Health and psychological problems in the family and parents’ education level may affect students’ learning (Ortiz and Yates 73-74, Robertson, Sullivan 319, 326). Thus, to assess ELL for special education services, teachers should consider students’ learning progress and their knowledge of native and English languages. They should consider learning environment and cultural and family context.

Works Cited

Adelson, Vicki, Esther Geva, and Christie Fraser. “Identification, Assеssment, and Instruction of English Language Lеarners with Lеarning Difficulties in the Elemеntary and Intеrmediate Grades. A guide for educators in Ontario schоol boards. State Education Resource Center, Mar. 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.

Dunn, Michael W., and Trenia Walker. “Assеssment of English Language Learners With Disabilities. Cоntent Area and Special Education Tеacher Collaboration in English Language Lеarner Identification and Assessment.” Helping English Language Learners Succeed in Middle and High Schools. Eds. Faridah Pawan and Ginger B. Steinman. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., 2007. 103-116. Print.

Ortiz, Alba A., and James R. Yates. “Considerations in the Assessment of English Language Learners Referred to Special Education.” English Language Lеarners with Special Education Nеeds Identification Assessmеnt, and Instruction. Eds. Alfredo J. Altiles and Alba A. Ortiz. McHenry, IL: Delta Systems Co Inc., 2002. 65-86. Print. …

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