The identified article is titled English Language Learners in U.S. Schools: An Overview of Research Findings, and review findings from research that has been carried out on the subject since 1980.Such studies majorly reported English learning in three aspects such as oral language, literacy as well as academic achievement of the English language learners. The article harmonizes the various bodies of research and identifies a given thread that runs across the various researches, which, the author determines are the principles of English language learning.
According to the findings of the various studies reviewed in the article, the author appreciates that English language learning, especially as a second language requires input from all stakeholders involved, but specifically, the following are paramount to the acquisition of the language.
A positive school environment. According to a study by Battistich Et al,2002, the school learning environment is of great importance when it comes to the acquisition of the English language. Some of the arguments advanced in their study are that a positive environment creates a positive learning attitude, where learning is appreciated and applauded, as well as instilling a positive energy for learners to increase their interest in the language.
The researchers also Identify that a curriculum that is meaningful and academically challenging is likely to incorporate a higher order thinking, as was found by Doherty et al., 2003. An academically challenging curriculum has been found to stimulate learning, and especially language acquisition, as the learners have to stretch their imagination even further, in the wake of the complexities of the English language. Such a curriculum is also believed to set standards in the language acquisition process that ensures sustainability of the language in the long run.
Consequently, the researchers also agree that for English learning to be successful, and have an impact on the learner, the program model must be grounded on a sound theory and best practice that is associated with an enriched and also a non remedial instruction model, as was found by Cortez Et al in 2002.
Lastly, the use of cooperative learning and very high quality exchanges between learners and teachers has been found to be a very important tool in ensuring that the language has a lasting impression on the learners. This was according to a research carried out by Berman et al in 2002, which identified that both verbal exchanges or otherwise, can greatly improve the learning of English among learners.
In a nutshell, the article appreciates that English language learning is a challenging activity, and provides the basic and proven principles that are a product of many years of research in the United States. The author concludes that there is not much research on how to make instruction more accessible as well as meaningful to English language learners (Genesee, F. et al,2005). However, the present research appreciates that the importance of incorporating language development components as well as developing content instruction and techniques cannot be overemphasized.
The finding of this article would be very helpful in enabling a teacher to fully understand how to structure his lessons so as to encourage a better learning environment that enables a quick and sustainable
, especially if it is a second language. English language learning, therefore, for non native English speakers require consistent and structured input from both the teacher and the learners and that is why the findings of this article would greatly be beneficial for a teacher and learners.
At the same time, the findings of the study, especially with regard to the development of the English learning curriculum would be very helpful in assisting a teacher to develop a curriculum that takes into consideration the learnings specific needs and also address means of ensuring that such needs are met. This will enhance the language acquisition process as well as the sustainability of the language already learnt.
In my opinion, the author was successful in clearly bringing out the findings of the many researches that have been carried out in relation to English language learning in the United states, since the 80’s. The author also succeeded in synchronizing the findings of the many authors in one meaningful piece, that clearly addresses the major issues surrounding the learning of the English language. The article, however, does not provide a unitary methodology as to how teachers can utilize instruction to enhance the learning of the English language, as well as address the factors that affect the students learning (DeKeyser,1998)..
Aida Wacqui on the article on the contextual factors affecting students learning seems to fill the void in the above article.He identifies a number of factors, contextual in nature, that affect the students learning of the English language. These include;language, the learner and learning process. These are individually explained below.
According to Warqui, ones first and second language affects their ability to acquire another language. This is mainly due to a number of factors such as the distance between the two languages, the student’s current proficiency in the first language, knowledge of the second language, attitude or prestige associated with the language as well as dialect and register.
Understanding of this factor would help a teacher in properly assessing and classifying learners for ease of instruction. This will also help the teacher to develop appropriate instructions so as to be able to reach all learners regardless of their language status.
The learner’s learning aptitude is influenced by a number of factors such as the need for the acquisition of the language, ones peer influences, role models etc. The author explains that in most cases, the goals of the learner, the reason why they have to acquire the language, etc.,
Affects the learner aptitude towards the acquisition of the language.
Such information is helpful to the language teacher, as it helps in helping to identify the particular learners’ needs as well as the other factors that influence their learning (Walqui,2000). Such knowledge will help the teacher in designing a curriculum that will be able to address the needs of the learner.
The learning process
The learners motivation, classroom interaction as well as the learners’ learning styles influences the acquisition of language. Teachers’ understanding of this fact will be very helpful in assisting the teacher to develop teaching strategies that reach all the learners regardless of the learning styles. Such teaching methodologies should be able to motivate the interaction between the learners and the teacher, as well as learners and other learners, which is a key component of language learning.
DeKeyser, R. (1998). Beyond focus on form: Cognitive perspectives on learning and practicing second language grammar. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.), Focus on form in classroom language acquisition (pp. 42-63). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Genesee, F. et al (2005) English Language Learners in U.S. Schools: An Overview of Research Findings. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Walqui, A (2000) Contextual Factors in Second Language Acquisition West Ed, San Francisco, California