The article we read for this assignment, "Teacher Skills to Support English Language Learners," addresses a lot of the concerns that I've had about my upcoming teaching position. My charter school is located in the Fruitvale area, which is a prominent Latino community. While I had three years of Spanish in college, I haven't used it much since then, and my facility with the language has atrophied, particularly in conversational use. While I'm still better off than a teacher who has had no Spanish, I know that the technical material I'm presenting is going to have to be explained in English. As the article points out, there is a big difference between conversational proficiency in a language and proficiency with the technical language used in academic settings.
The authors state that they have developed a system for teaching English Language Learners (ELLs), the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model, and that it has shown strong positive results in the classroom. I'm pleased to learn that people have been working on this problem and that there are successful strategies that I can learn to implement to help these students. This article was only an overview, of course, so much of the information presented was very general and abstract. The authors also assume knowledge of some terms that are not part of my academic vocabulary -- "word walls", "semantic webs", and "graphic organizers" as prewriting activities. I'm looking forward to learning more about the techniques described so that I can begin to think about how to implement them; this is the sort of material that I'm going to have to practice with in a practical setting before I'll feel like I really understand it.