Jump to navigation
We know that it can take between 4-10 years to become fully English proficient. This is especially true for English in academic settings where ELLs are learning while using their language skills. Social English can be acquired in as little as six months to two years, but reading, writing, listening and speaking for academic purposes is a much more arduous process. There are many individual influencing factors such as motivation, instructional setting and effectiveness, aptitude, and self-esteem. But what is it about English that makes it so challenging?
Language is multi-faceted. Between context, content, purpose, setting, register and genre, language is extremely complex. Experts like the WIDA Consortium remind us that it’s important to attend to the instruction and assessment of language at the word, sentence, and discourse level. Understanding these features of academic language can be eye-opening for general ed teachers and very conducive for collaboration. Using this context as a starting point, it’s helpful to then look at the challenges of words and phrases, sentences, and discourse in English.
Consider the following:
This is a pretty thorough list, but it isn’t even complete. There are additional considerations, such as collocations and dialects. But hopefully this gives you some ideas of the challenges your students are facing. Here are some other ways to put language teaching in the forefront. What can you do to shift your language and interactions with your ELLs to improve language and content learning?
View the discussion thread.