FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Don't you have to speak the students' languages to teach them English?
No, it is not necessary for ENL teachers to speak students' native languages in order to teach English. ENL methodology uses English to teach English. Many ENL classes are composed of students speaking a dozen or more different languages. For example, Baldwinsville has had ENL students from the Ukraine, Turkey, China, Russia, Puerto Rico, Bosnia, Brazil, Taiwan, and Moldova! Even if a teacher could speak all of the languages, to do so would be confusing and chaotic in a classroom setting.
How do you teach someone whose language you don't speak?
ENL teachers use a method known as "comprehensible input" meaning they find ways to make the language comprehensible to the student (by simplifying, adding context clues, scaffolding, gesturing, etc.) so that it can serve as input to the language-learning part of the brain. The human brain is wired to acquire language; give it plenty of data, and it will sort out the patterns of language.
You acquire English as a child through comprehensible input i.e., people use language around you and help you understand its meaning. ENL students can acquire English in much the same way. Actually, anyone can acquire a new language this way, too, if they are in the right environment!
What does an ENL teacher do, anyway?
An ENL teacher is a language development expert who teaches literacy (ELA) : Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and American Culture.
ENL teachers follow NYS approved curriculums and incorporate 21st century skills instruction.
Is ENL a support or a remedial service?
Neither. ENL is a developmental English Language Arts program. ENL programs have NYS ENL (New Language Arts) Progressions and their own annual assessment (NYSESLAT). The ENL teachers integrate literacy and content to teach language. In a co-teaching situation, ENL teachers and classroom teachers co-plan and co-teach lessons together equally. The SIOP Model is often used in a co-teaching situation.
The ENL teacher administers the annual NYS ENL Assessment called the NYSESLAT. This is a four-part NYS assessment given over four days each April/May to all ENL students in NYS. It consists of Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening sections. The scores are used to determine the language proficiency level for the next school year: Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding & Commanding. For more information, visit the NYS Education Department website.
Do ENL students need ENL services every day?
There are specific weekly time requirements for English Language Learners (ELLs) depending on their proficiency level: Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding & Commanding. Minutes can be distributed across the week as scheduling allows (as opposed to a certain number daily), keeping in mind the best interest of the student.
Where can I find more information on the NYS ENL (New Language Arts) Progressions?
New Language Arts Progressions (which will replace ENL Learning Standards) are located here: http://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-bilingual-common-core-initiative
Do ENL students have testing accommodations?
Yes. Follow this link for additional information: http://www.nysed.gov/bilingual-ed/schools/english-language-learnermultilingual-learner-assessment-testing-accommodations
Does the Dignity for All Act apply English Language Learners?
Yes. The Dignity for All Act took effect on July 1, 2012. It seeks to provide students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying on school property, a school bus, and/or at a school function.
Does an ENL teacher also serve as a translator or interpreter?
No, an ENL teacher teaches English Language Arts. A translator or interpreter is a completely different job description requiring the person to be bilingual and fluent in a specific language. Translators are hired by the school district on a part-time basis to translate key documents to parents into the student’s home language. They may also be used to translate NYS assessments into rare languages.