TESOL Standard 2

Artifact: Cultural Assimilation

Artifact: Teaching Philosophy

The artifacts I selected for Standard 2 (culture as it affects student learning) were a cultural study on East Asian immigrants (ESC 759) and my philosophy of teaching diverse students (ESC 769).  The cultural study illustrates my understanding of how cultural identity influences self-esteem, language learning, and school achievement. My philosophy artifact provides evidence of how I infuse my students culture until my curriculum, material selection, and teaching.

In delving into my project archives throughout my graduate school career, there seems to be a common thread of interest: East Asian ELLs. While this idea of a specific type of ELL ties my studies together, I did discover enough information to align my interests to the particular class focus.  ESC 759 Foundations of Bilingual/Bicultural Education provided and overarching idea of how bicultural education came into place, along with the legal and linguistic scaffolds that keep it relevant in modern education. In this class, I wrote a paper that discussed the cultural expectations faced by East Asian ELLs, the model minority myth(s), and the impact of said expectations had on second language acquisition.

In the process of researching this paper, I learned how…firm a grip old-world thinking has on the immigrant experience, even after generations of separation. Having taught in Korea, I knew first-hand the pressures that Korean students face as they try to conquer a multitude of assessments. In America, this pressure does not abate, and may even increase due to the necessity to learn English quickly and properly. Understanding these challenges, I try to offer frequent encouragement to my Asian ELLs and ensure that parents know how well their children are performing. Behavior issues are not common in East Asian ELLs, so as a teacher, I focus on providing extra help—after school and some Saturdays, as this is seen as standard practice for students in Asia.

Tied in with my keen understanding of East Asian cultural differences, my ESC 769 (Latinos in U.S. Schools) offered a starker idea of the immigrant experience. Reflecting back on my philsophy of teaching diverse students, I see that I have maintained my high standards quite well. Many, if not most, of my ELLs are of Dominican heritage, so I try to respect and indeed honor their culture within my classroom. One of the key concepts in my philosophy included aiding students in developing respect for their language and culture. As a teacher, I believe that when I student feels accepted as who they are, they are able to be taught with greater ease. One method I provide students is a safe space to speak their native language, usually by creating strategic partnering or creating think-pair-share opportunities. I also try to present materials that contain characters and moments that my students can connect to their own lives, whether it be a story with a Latino character or an article on Dominican food.

Reflecting back on my artifacts, I would like to try to engage parents more within the classroom. I feel that parental engagement aids in the language acquisition process not only for my students, but for the parents themselves. I may start to invite parents into the classroom so they can see my teaching in action and maybe take some aspects of my teaching and use it in the home, thereby allowing them to be both observers and participants.

TESOL Standard 3.A

Artifact: EdTPA Lesson Sequence

Standard 3.a. Planning for Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction. 

Candidates know, understand, and apply concepts, research, and best practices to plan classroom instruction in a supportive learning environment for ELLs. They plan for multilevel classrooms with learners from diverse backgrounds using standards-based ESL and content curriculum.

The artifact I chose for Standard 3.a is my lesson sequence from my EdTPA submission. My lesson sequence illustrates my deep knowledge of the best practices to plan classroom instruction in a supportive learning environment for ELLs. One of the modes of assessment I presented in my lesson sequence was Fist to Five, a simple yet effective technique that allowed me to assess quickly the comprehension levels of my students. By having a visual of the Fist to Five process on the wall, my ELLs are able to properly utilize this tool.  This particular poster, along with other basic visual assessments, is an example of how I design my classroom as [a] supportive, positive learning environment. 

By strategically curating my lesson sequence, I learned the importance of assessment placement, making sure my assessments are effective and reflective of my entire student base. In order to allow me ELLs to access the content, I learned that even though a supportive environment is paramount, rigor cannot be sacrificed. As such, another component of my planning for content instruction is the use of graphic organizers. Along with Fist to Five and other kinesthetic, fast assessments, a graphic organizer is a mode of assessment…that addresses students’ diverse backgrounds, developmental needs, and English proficiency.

In order to fully comply with this standard, I scaffolded my graphic organizers, with the same goal in mind. For my higher-level ELLS, my planning involved providing sentence starters even within the organizer, while my lower-level ELLs (include SIFE) might have an entire block pre-filled. By differentiating my graphic organizers, I am exhibiting best practices to plan classroom instruction; graphic organizers are an effective method to raise ELLs comprehension through visual illustrations or vocabulary and key terms.

Both the Fist to Five and graphic organizer were both smart additions to my lesson sequence. However, next time, I will try to vary my assessments in order to have a more active classroom and allow students more self- and peer-assessment.

TESOL Standard 3.B

Artifact: EdTPA Instructional Commentary

Standard 3.b. Implementing and Managing Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction
Candidates know, manage, and implement a variety of standards-based teaching strategies and techniques for developing and integrating English listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Candidates support ELLs’ access to the core curriculum by teaching language through academic content.

For Standard 3.b, I chose my EdTPA instructional commentary as my artifact. My instructional commentary provides evidence of a rigorous instruction, specifically in using meaning instruction to build relevant academic vocabulary. As an educator, I have always felt a strong knowledge of both academic and basic vocabulary is a linchpin in connecting language to content. According to influential website colorincolorado, “academic vocabulary must be introduced, and then reinforced”. Therefore, in my lesson, I build up vocabulary comprehension through the week, with the scaffolds slowly being removed as the week continues.

In addition to providing academic vocabulary in my lessons, my instructional commentary also illustrates how I provide activities and materials that integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing. One of the formative assessments I use often in the classroom is THINK-PAIR-SHARE and TURN AND TALK. With this assessment, I find that by giving ELLs think time, they are more likely to provide a substantial response. Moreover, by speaking on a regular basis, my ELLs are able to increase their comprehension and content level. If I were to implement this particular strategy for this particular lesson again, I would try to pair my students more strategically. I tend to pair my ELLs with other ELLs, regardless of level, but I find that conversations are not as…fruitful as when students are paired heterogeneously.

One area of Standard 3.b that I would like to improve on is providing standards-based reading instruction adapted to ELLs. I tend to use the same text for all of my students, with only slight modifications for my ELLs (usually a whole-text translation). However, I feel that I am doing my ELLs a disservice when I don’t honor all of the varying proficiency levels of my students. Even though I do provide texts in a variety of genres related to students’ studies in content-area classes, I need to begin to prepare annotated and abridged versions of texts to my ELLs.

TESOL Standard 3.C

Artifact: Slideshow

Standard 3.cUsing Resources and Technology Effectively in ESL and Content Instruction

Candidates are familiar with a wide range of standards-based materials, resources, and technologies, and choose, adapt, and use them in effective ESL and content teaching.

The artifact I chose for Standard 3.C was a slideshow that was rich in visuals and student-led activities based in Google Classroom. In this lesson, along with visuals, students were able to process the topic aurally in their own Google Classroom page. This artifact demonstrates my skill in assisting students in learning how to use technological resources for their own academic purposes. I find it necessary to use visuals and technology-based components in my lessons because my ELLs are very interested in social media. By acknowledging their technological savvy, I am able to teach them in a more productive way.

It is often challenging to teach ELLs concepts and ideas that are based in cultures distinctly different from their own. The artifact I chose was part of a unit on mythology, and I would often prod my students to try to sound out words that were mystifying even to my native speakers. With the aid of audio, my ELLs were able to hear the word spoken and, with their own Google Classroom page, practice speaking independently. By allowing students to educate themselves, I am demonstrating my proficiency at using a variety of resources  to obtain materials that promote language, literacy, and content development in English and, when possible, the students’ home languages.

In addition, this particular artifact matched my teaching disposition, in that I prefer to be more of a facilitator rather than a lecturer. By using visuals and self-directed learning, my ELLs have more of an opportunity to discover ideas on their own. And more importantly, they can build self-confidence which is transferrable to other aspects of their education.

One area I would like to improve in regards to this standard is allowing students to assess themselves using the technology. I often find myself using either paper-based rubrics or nonverbal gestures such as Fist to Five or Thumbs-Up/Thumbs-Down as a self-assessment. In the future, I would like to use more kinesthetically-based assessments or use Plickers as a way to measure comprehension.