Empowering Students

Tina Curby

What a tremendous privilege we enjoy in our Upper School to work with students who come to us from so many different backgrounds, cultures, and languages!

It’s always a privilege to teach ICSB Upper School students, but one special joy throughout the years has been instructing and interacting with our English Language Learners.

Occasionally, a student who enters ICSB from a non-English background needs a bit of help to catch up with his/her grade-level classmates in English skills; thus, our Upper School English Language Learners (ELL) courses focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English, all while expanding each student’s vocabulary and academic skills.

Way back around 2004 and 2005, as we were clarifying our entrance requirements for high school English Language Learners and updating our program, we realized it might also be helpful to offer these students their English class at a fundamental level as well. The ‘English Fundamentals’ courses are specifically designed to help ELL students and others who struggle with some aspects of reading and/or writing in English. Some years, these have been small, individualized classes and at other times, the students have been a part of the large-group English class, so that they are exposed to the same ‘English class’ experience as their peers, but in a modified format. They read many of the same works of literature as their classmates, but frequently read abridged or easier level texts. They learn to write paragraphs, essays, and even fun, creative works, but often in a much shorter or more simplified format than other students.

One of the most rewarding benefits of teaching ELL students is the appreciation so many of them express in getting to grow in their English skills.

 

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