Acculturating into the American School System: Supporting Our English Language Learners

By Puccio, Sebastian | Social Studies Review, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Acculturating into the American School System: Supporting Our English Language Learners


Puccio, Sebastian, Social Studies Review


Some people believe that nothing happens by accident; I am not sure if I ascribe to that belief, and I am certain that my entering the education profession was no accident. My passion for teaching has always been prevalent but a particular life experience enhanced my desire for sharing the passion and love for learning, which I possess. I arrived in the United States as an 11 -year-old child. I spoke absolutely no English, save for the exception of being able to say, "Hello, my name is Sebastian." I attended California public schools, where I acquired English and acculturated into the American school system. Contrary to what many education critics today preach me state public school system provided me with a world-class education. It is interesting to note from my early academic experiences, that the courses where I learned the most English and acculturated best to where not necessarily the English Language Development/ English (ELD) courses, rather they included the science and history classes I attended. The acculturation process was made possible through a combination of the rigorous academic challenge presented through the content of these courses and the teacher support that I was afforded.

During my first years as an ELD teacher, I began to notice the students in my classroom would summarize historical passages in a more proficient manner, when they were provided targeted support such as explicit instruction of expository writing. As an individual who is naturally passionate about history, I utilize a number of historical/social science readings to supplement the gaps of information, which often exist in textbooks. Through school district professional development with the Long Beach Unified School District, furthering my post-secondary education at California State University, Long Beach, as well as recently pursuing a post-graduate degree at the University of Southern California, I am able to comprehend many of the reasons the English learner students I instruct perform well when reading and writing from the aforementioned expository text.

As an education professional, I had the opportunity to reflect on my teaching and my own learning experiences through the challenging National Board Certification Process. I did some soul searching through this process and tried to understand, how as an English learner I succeeded in content area courses, such as science and history, and what it was about my teacher's pedagogy, which allowed me, succeed academically? Although I grew up in a loving family, I did not benefit from the financial or linguistic supports at home, which some of my native English speaking counterparts may have experienced, in order to succeed academically. My linguistic and academic growth was really influenced by my former science and history teachers. The instructional guidance these teachers provided me could be grouped into three categories: providing me academic/language support, providing me emotional/social support, and celebrating small victories and focusing on improvement.

Providing Academic/Language Support

There are a plethora of models such as SDAEE, CALLA, SIOP, which aid instructional designers in the formation of amazing lessons for English learners. I do not advocate, compare or endorse any particular one of them. I am a firm proponent in the notion of teacher autonomy and it behooves educators to possess an understanding and sensitivity for their students' socio-cultural context, prior to deciding which instructional approach best aligns with the learners needs.

In order for an instructional designer to create and implement lessons that target the needs of specific students', the designer must evaluate and consider the level of prior knowledge the learners already possess (Ambrose et al, 2010). For example, I recall my middle school science teacher as she would hold casual conversations, with what little language we could communicate with, about where I came from, and who I lived with. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Acculturating into the American School System: Supporting Our English Language Learners
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.