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   English Language Learner Program
         in Great Falls Public Schools


Life with an EB Student



Meet and welcome the family as best you can.

If you know in advance and need an interpreter, call the Title III TSA or the GFPS ABLE office for assistance.

Remember to smile

As there is a chance that all at the initial meeting may be nervous, be sure to smile and be welcoming as you work through the language barrier.



Do not MAP or CRT test in English until the student is fluent in English.

Will you be assessing reading and math or English proficiency?

Do not put the child in special education classes unless he or she is proficient in English and, after testing, qualifies for special education.

This is part of the Title III law.



Try to assess student interests.

Does the student like music, sports, art? Personalizing the schedule and encouraging after school activities pays more dividends than packing the day with what could be little understood content courses for an entire day.

Be flexible.

The schedule may need to be changed as the student gains skills or as you reevaluate and decide the schedule is too difficult.



Know the stages of language acquisition.

English as Second Language students may take 5-7 years to reach “Academic fluency.”

Use clear, predictable speech.

Make sure you enunciate and only say one direction at a time. You often need to repeat the direction for an English language learner.

Write things down for explanation and for future reference.

This includes assignments, notes about class, and notes to home or tutor.

Remember to smile

The student will look for clues about his or her progress on your face. Be confident that the student will succeed at learning English!

Use buddies

Other students are great sources of support for an English Language Learner. Be sure not to overburden a buddy. Share that new student.

Know that the student is trying.

Sometimes a child may appear to understand more than “he lets on.” Usually this is because he is trying desperately to fit in and do what you ask. If he does the opposite of what you ask, blame the language deficit, not the child.



Do not let the students fail.

Understand that for at least the first quarter of the school year, the student’s most important job is to learn lots of English. At the same time, we must not deny the student access to content and must make sure that the grades students earn reflect their understanding of content, not their language deficit.

Get support

The Title III TSA has resources for you and for your ESL student. Call and request a meeting! 268-6779. More English Language Learners resources will be on our district’s Webpage starting January 2011.