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Classroom Accommodations for ELL Students

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  • 0:04 Choosing Accommodations
  • 1:19 Bilingual Dictionary
  • 1:55 Read Text Aloud
  • 2:55 Reduced Load
  • 4:16 Supports
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, you will learn various techniques for selecting appropriate instructional and testing accommodations for English Language Learners in the content-area classroom.

Choosing Accommodations

You decide to enroll in an evening beginner's Spanish course at your local community college to better communicate with the large Hispanic student population at your school. The second week of class, your instructor hands you a test and says, ''Buena suerte,'' or ''good luck.'' To your dismay, the test includes a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary that has not been covered yet in class, and you fail it miserably. When you approach your instructor to discuss your grade, he tells you that despite your lack of Spanish proficiency, you are expected to perform on the same level as your native Spanish-speaking peers. Sorry, but you're stuck with the F. Better luck next time. Isn't this unfair? Don't you feel frustrated?

Hopefully, you've never experienced this, but it should help you to see what school life can be like for English Language Learners. It's important that teachers do everything in their power to make sure ELLs receive equal access to education. ELL students are entitled to instructional and testing accommodations in the classroom, but selecting the appropriate accommodations can be an involved process that requires much thought and attention. Let's take a look at some of the most helpful accommodations for ELL students in content-area classrooms.

Bilingual Dictionary

A bilingual dictionary is one of the most helpful and widely-used accommodations for ELL students. Imagine how much easier that Spanish test would have been if you'd been armed with a word-to-word dictionary to translate some of the unfamiliar vocabulary into English. Students who have at least an intermediate level of English proficiency and who are literate in their native language will most benefit from this accommodation. Students should have familiarity with using a bilingual dictionary for homework and classwork before being provided this accommodation for testing. The student should be allowed to use the dictionary on all assignments as needed.

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