ESL: Establish sounder languages

Luz Orozco, Reporter

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As a kid, one of the worst fears we had was moving to a new school, town, or state. It was terrifying not knowing anyone, and the anxiety nearly killed me.

Now imagine moving countries, where not only do you not know anyone, you also can’t speak to anyone because they won’t understand you.

In Hillcrest alone there are about 35 students who don’t speak English at all, and several others that aren’t proficient. That is they are in level 1 of English Learning. This was just last month’s report and they update it every month.

Often, you may encounter a student in your class that has recently came to the U.S. With more and more students coming into school not knowing the language, they need to know the resources available.

We don’t really take much interest but they are doing the same assignments as everyone, not knowing any English. They take the same test as everyone, not knowing what the test may say, or what to do, because they get no aid in class. That’d be equivalent to teachers giving us a test in another language. It’s completely unfair.

“When I first came to the U.S. four years ago, I was in middle school and basically learned English by myself,” said student Cesar Valdivia. “I’m not fluent yet but I’m still expected to meet the same requirements as a person who has lived their whole life here.”

This may often lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of inadequacy. So what happens? They don’t go to class. After all, why go if you can’t do any of the assignments, tests, or homework assigned.

“Brand new English Language Learners not only need to learn the English language but also the Academic English. Unfortunately, new ELLs do often times feel out of place and rely on their teachers for learning but if they don’t feel welcome or supported, they stop attending,” said Ariana Franco, a ALS facilitator assistant.

However, it’s important to recognize that there are resources that can help ELL students. The entire school and Principal Levitt are constantly on top of this subject. They are trying to come up with new ideas on how to help these students and see them succeed.

Even with the resources available now, we don’t see enough of them being where they need to be.

 This isn’t just a problem we can blame on the teachers, in fact, they probably recognize this. The problem may lay in miscommunication or a lack of it.

In order for an incoming student to succeed they need to feel comfortable trying to communicate with their teachers, and that may often be the problem. Teachers need to see students wanting to learn to help them, and some students may often lead them to believe they don’t care about education.

It’s important to take everyone into consideration before pointing fingers, but this is just a problem that needs to be solved. School and education is important for everyone and being able to ask for help is a big part of succeeding in high school. Helping ESL students is just one more step we can take to make this school more inclusive.

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