Education and Individual Differences

Education and Individual Differences

The student population in the current school setting is diversified on the aspects of cultures, race and even individual abilities of the students. There are however many links and tensions between the individual and social values of the student body. Institutions, therefore, develop programs in their curriculum which can absorb all the students regardless of the difference in their capabilities. Variations in student abilities include physical challenges such as immobility. Besides, a significant difference among many students is the language barrier due to different ethnic and social backgrounds. Some student has difficulties in communication through the English language. English Language Learners (ELL) are students who study English as a Second Language (ESL). ELL/ESL programs are programs for students from non-English speaking families or countries to help them communicate in English effectively English and be able to learn in an English speaking school. The students in an inclusive setting are pulled out of their regular classroom to a separate class for English instruction lesson from an ESL teacher. The inclusion of ELL/ESL program in the standard curriculum separates students from their peers which has an adverse psychological effect on them and slows their learning speed.

Most ELL/ESL programs require the students enrolled in the program to be separated from the rest of the other students and learn with the help of an ESL instructor. ESL students are separately taught since the rest of the students have a different level of fluency in both written and spoken English. Many educators believe that having ESL students in the same class with the speakers of English as a native language (ENL) has disadvantages both to the ESL and ENL students. The use of ESL teachers when teaching all the students is considered a wastage of resources since the majority of the population do not need ESL instruction. Similarly, training of ESL students in the regular classroom with the rest of their peers, they may not be able to learn since they are learning English as a second language. In the enrollment process, the schools conduct assessments on the current level of English proficiency of the new student. Moreover, the institutions sent specialists to the family where they assess the extent to which both English and native language are used. These assessments aid in deciding the best ESL program for the student. However, many educators and parents argue that the additional ESL support helps to maintain the challenging environment of a fluent classroom.

However, the separation of ESL students from their peers has several psychological effects on them. The segregation is in the cases where the institutions have full inclusion of the ESL programs. Since for most of the student it is in a new school, the separation makes them feel unwanted and therefore may become withdrawn and unlikely to participate in most school activities.Segregation often stresses the students. It also results in increased cultural bias since being separated makes them feel like intruders. The idea of separation also makes students lose confidence in themselves since they are unable to communicate effectively with the others. Also, since they are unable to share their thoughts, being isolated reduces their creativity. Therefore, to give ESL students the appropriate psychological environment, educators have the obligation of conducting their ESL instruction to the students when they are in class with their peers.

A third-grade student undergoing ESL classes claimed she did not like being separated from her peers in an interview. I asked her “What is your name?” “Maxim Parian” She replied. Then I asked her what grade she was in. “third grade” Maxim replied. During the interview, the student revealed that she was born in America in a non-English speaking family. Due to her family background and use of native language, she got pulled into ESL classes to assist her to achieve fluency in English. “How do you feel about the ELL classes you are enrolled?” I asked. “I feel lonely. I do not like studying without my friends” Maxim said. She feels lonely while attending the ESL classes and prefers learning in the fluent class with her friends. Although Maxim agrees that the ESL classes have helped her a little bit in improving her proficiency, she believes that she would have learned more if she was taught together with her peers.

It is however vital for the ESL students to learn with their peers in the same classroom.Students tend to understand better when they are learning with their ideas. It gives them confidence and offers them a challenge to be fluent like their classmates. Besides, learning with friends creates a much more comfortable environment which is crucial for learning. This relaxed environment gives students an opportunity to show their creativity and make the most out of their time in school. Similarly, learning in a fully fluent class influences the efforts made by the ESL students towards improving their English proficiency. In this type of integration, students have access to all the materials they need for them to succeed. Generally, students learn faster when they are with their peers as opposed to when they are alone. Therefore, the inclusion of ESL programs in schools slows down the rate with which ELLs gain fluency and proficiency in English.

Dividing kids with who need to learn English as their second language from the rest of the class deprives them of the best opportunity for practice. Enhancing fluency in both spoken and written English requires one to write and talk about the language continuously. A class is one place where students trying to be fluent can do their practice by speaking to the other members of the class. A big class gives such students the audience for listening and correcting their grammar mistakes in writings or when speaking. Teenagers feel free when talking to their peers as compare to talking to older individuals such as teachers. A class offers such an environment where the students are not shy of their misgivings. Therefore, ELL educators need to give the students the chance to interact and practice in a fluent class. However, ELL assisted programs are necessary where the educators give the ESL students educative tasks to perform in class with the aim of improving English proficiency.

In another interview, I asked a boy in high school several questions regarding his ELL classes. The student agreed that he uses his native language most of the time with his extended family members who he lives with. He got enrolled in a school where there was full inclusion of the ELL program. Students who were found to need assistance in improving fluency in English were pulled out of the regular school system into ELL classes administered by ELL professionals. However, for this particular student, the ELL classes were not much help in improving his spoken and written fluency in English. In the interview, I asked the student the language he used most between English and his native language. He replied, “I use my native language more since I speak a lot while at home with my family.” Then I asked, “do you learn from the ELL class?” “There is no much learning in the ELL classes” he replied. From the conversation, it was clear that the ELL program the high school student was enrolled to was not helping him in his English language. He, however, preferred learning with the rest of the students in his class. Learning in the fluent class would help him speak more English than the native language.

The English language learners, however, may have significant difficulties in gaining fluency of the language especially with students with origins in the Middle East. Therefore, despite teaching them in the same classrooms with the fluent students, teachers need to be aware of their specific language needs.The students require ESL programs incorporated within the typical class. Thus, the ESL teachers have to act as teaching assistants for other teachers with the aim of helping the ESL students understand concepts. The incorporated program is better than full inclusion of ESL in the curriculum. However, since it is not possible to have ESL teachers in all the lessons, the other teachers, therefore, ought to simplify the tasks for ESL students so that they are at par with the others in the same class. For instance, when a teacher in a regular paced history class assigns a research essay on a specific topic, that teacher must strive to accommodate his or her instruction and support to all students with needs including language, learning, and cognition needs of both ESL and fluent students. Subsequently, as students work through their research papers, a single teacher’s ability to support each child becomes more challenging. The more children and special needs there are in each class, the less specialized support a single teacher can offer each of the individual students.

In summary, English as a second language programs inclusion in schools curriculums delineates the ELL students from the rest of their classmates and peers which may affect them psychologically and reduce their rate of learning. Most of the ESL programs adopted require students from non-English speaking nations or families to study in a separate class taught by ESL teachers. The separation makes these students feel different and unwelcome. It also reduces their self-confidence in the school and the learning process. Low confidence may lead to slow rates of learning. However, students learn faster when they are with their peers. However, the ESL students still need special assistance from teachers when studying in fluent classes. Teachers have to make things simpler for students who are studying English as a second language. Therefore, the full inclusion of the ESL/ELL programs in schools is not helpful for the students who need assistance in the English language.


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