ELL students have one common goal: To learn English as quickly and efficiently as possible. Teaching ELL in a multi-level classroom at the secondary level is one of the most rewarding and dynamic teaching environments. However, regardless of your experience level, teaching in a multi-level setting is very challenging, especially when it’s up to the teacher to design his or her curriculum. When teaching students of different English proficiencies in the same classroom, scaffolding the material for students can create a lot of work and requires intense preparation. The best course of action is to build a safe environment for students to lower their affective filter and, most importantly, to have a curriculum designed for multi-level use.
A proper multi-level curriculum will give students at each level of proficiency something to work on while the teacher circulates through the classroom and assists others. The goal is to have students working on different topics at their respective level, but on the same type of activity as a whole. Teachers can then set the pace of learning and create an environment where students at each level will be successful. This reduces teacher burnout and ensures that teachers use their limited amount of class time giving individual feedback and directly instructing small groups of the same proficiency.
ELLoquence’s design stemmed from a need that real teachers have for a curriculum that can be effectively utilized in a multi-level setting. Thesys observed that teachers wanted a curriculum that would be relevant to students and provide academic rigor at each level of proficiency. The educators at Thesys also understood the importance of students being able to participate and interact with not only the instructor, but one another. Therefore, the philosophy of Thesys’ ELLoquence product is based upon three major design elements guaranteed to help ELL students succeed:
- Content-Based Instruction (CBI) to develop students’ academic English skills based on key subject matter, informational texts, and encouraging the student to learn by developing opinions and fostering problem solving.
- Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) with an emphasis on speaking, vocabulary development, and communicating meaning.
- Blended Learning (classroom + technology) where the teacher acts a facilitator with technology-enabled, multi-learning modalities available for the student.
ELLoquence is now in its fifth year of being used in private and public schools around the United States and will soon be used internationally. Through the use of ELLoquence, Fairmont Preparatory Academy, located in Anaheim, California, has seen students reclassified in two to three years and continues to thrive in academics, gaining admission to great universities.