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The Relationship Between ELD & ELA Standards in Listening & Speaking

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

This lesson describes the close relationship between the California ELA and ELD standards when it comes to speaking and listening skills. In addition, you'll learn how to apply these standards at different levels of English proficiency.

ELA/ELD Relationship

As part of learning the English language, students who attend English Language Development (ELD) sessions in California develop their speaking and listening skills. However, these skills have close relation with the academic performance in English Language Arts (ELA). Do you wonder how? The answer is in the California ELA/ELD Framework, which is the blueprint for the academic standards the state expects to see in students by relating different disciplines. As per the framework, speaking and listening skills are not only essential as part of using the English language daily but also a tool for academic success. For this reason, the California Common Core State Standards includes speaking and listening standards for each grade level. To illustrate this point, let's take a practical example.

Example of ELA/ELD Relation

Let's take the case of Laura, an English learner in fifth grade in California. Laura develops her speaking and listening skills through ELD classes. However, this knowledge serves Laura not only in learning the language. As per the California Common Core State Standards for fifth grade, Laura is expected to engage in peer discussion in an effective manner and on a range of topics (math, science, social studies).

As you can see, the expectations for fifth grade when it comes to speaking and listening skills are demanding but, luckily, English learners develop these essential skills through ELD sessions. Thus, California teachers are not only professionally prepared to teach the language. In addition, California ELD teachers are aware of the California Common Core State Standards and prepare classes accordingly.

Now, let's see how teachers apply these standards at different levels of English proficiency in California.

Standards and English Levels

If you are a teacher in California, you are going to design your lessons based on your English learners' level. In the state, the levels include the following:

  • Emerging: students who are at the very first stages of learning and quickly build up a basis for both daily life communication and academic use
  • Expanding: students progress towards more complex uses of the language for both social and academic purposes
  • Bridging: students continue to perfect their language skills to appropriately respond and succeed in social and academic settings

The California ELD Standards defines the expectations for each level. The expectations are expressed through tasks that the student should do by involving these three aspects:

  • Collaborative: the ability to engage in dialogue
  • Interpretive: students comprehend both written and spoken texts
  • Productive: students are able to write and make oral presentations

To put together these three aspects with the ELD proficiency levels, the California ELD Standards specifically describe the tasks students should be able to do at each level for different skills, including listening and speaking. Let's clarify this through an example.

Laura is in the expanding proficiency level. As per the California ELD Standards, a student who is at an early stage of the expanding level should be able to perform these tasks that require speaking and listening skills:

  1. Collaborative: She should be able to express a variety of personal needs and opinions and respond to questions by using short sentences. Thus, Laura's teacher gives her practice with dialogue such as 'Is watching TV good or bad?' or with peer interview using wh-questions such as 'What does your father do for a living?'.
  2. Interpretive: Laura should be able to comprehend a variety of information she receives on a given subject. Laura's teacher shows a video in which students receive information regarding good school lunch ideas to stay healthy. When the teacher asks questions, Laura answers and demonstrates she understood the information.
  3. Productive: Laura needs to express ideas in a structured manner. To develop this, Laura's teacher assigns the class peer discussion on topics such as how to go about writing a composition.

In short, you would have to always refer to the tasks the California ELD Standards describe for students at each level of English proficiency and prepare accordingly.

Remember Typologies of English Learners

Last but not least, it is always helpful to remember the typologies of English learners you can have in your California class. Let's briefly look at some of them.

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