Unfolding Vision

Submitted by mhunt on September 22, 2011 - 6:26pm
English Language Learning Support in a Small School Division

ABSTRACT: English language learning (ELL) students (n=24), their parents (n=25), teachers (n=18)
and school administrators(n=7) (total n=74) took part in this study to contribute to a
better understanding of the educational, cultural and social supports of ELL students in
the Grande Prairie Public School Division (GPPSD). The four groups filled out a survey
and participated in focus group discussions to identify the needs of the ELL students and
describe the existing and recommended supports for the ELL students. Responses
revealed that there is a diverse range of ELL students from various cultural backgrounds
attending GPPSD. At the time of the study, the participants indicated that the integration
model (the classroom teacher as the main support along with differentiated assignments
and peer-partner supports) and the pullout model of instruction were supporting the ELL
students in the classroom. Based on a comparison of participant responses with promising
ELL practices from a literature review, the author recommended a comprehensive ELL
program with 1) open and continuous dialogue between teachers and administrators, 2)
collaboration and networking with community groups, 3) an initial welcoming intake and
orientation procedure, 4) trained ELL designated coordinator and support teachers, 5)
family literacy programming and fostering of ELL student’s first language, 6)
encouragement for cultural awareness and district-wide professional learning. A
comprehensive program would encourage socialization of the ELL students through peer
supports, after school and summer ELL classes, thus strengthening the integration model
of support.