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Background and Need, Rationale, etc.
Historically, students who speak a language other than English are less successful in school in the US versus their native English-speaking peers (Olsen, 2010). There is a continuous increase in the number of students of English Learner status in the US, specifically in California. In the year 2000, there were 8.1% English Learners in US Schools, and in 2017, that number went up to 10.1%. As of 2017, 19.2% of English Language Learners in California. (The National Center for Education Statistics).
Teachers are continually searching for strategies that will assist them to teach students to increase not only their English skills but their content knowledge as well. Oral language fluency is an important part of language fluency development that English Language Learners (ELLs) need to stay and succeed in school, (Echevarria, et. al. 2013). These students are no longer just being served by a select few teachers in a pull-out setting but are being mainstreamed into classrooms. Homeroom teachers are to serve these students in designated and integrated English development. A short time frame within a school day to learn English is no longer sufficient to teach English Language Learners (ELLs), they need integrated English instruction throughout the day and in all content areas in addition to English Language Development (ELD).
The goal is to increase the number of students who are proficient in English before they become long-term English learners. John Hattie’s (2018) meta-analysis of factors that relate to student achievement state that class discussions .82, scaffolding .82, and vocabulary instruction .62 have a large impact on students to raise student efficacy more than one-year growth in one year. The goal of the research was to investigate strategies that may prevent EL students from becoming Long Term English Learners (LTEL) by practicing these instructional strategies in a
virtual setting. A virtual setting was a necessary element due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of schools in Northern California in the fall of 2020. Students attended a third-grade class for 2.5 hours per day with a cohort of 10-11 other students. A virtual setting alters the work as there is not as much collaboration among students except in a Zoom breakout room as well as a greatly reduced time frame to work with students.
Laurie Olsen (2010) stated that oral language development and emphasis on academic language were elements of a high-quality program for Long Term English Learners to be successful, therefore these were the elements of focus in this study. Research shows that students who are long-term English Language Learners are not as academically successful as students that are reclassified as fluent English learners (Olsen, 2010).
Many children and youth enrolled in diverse states such as California are not native English speakers; they are English Learners. English Learners may have limited ability to read, speak, or learn in English. Over time, many of these students fail to attain proficiency in English. English Learners who fail to attain proficiency after five years in school are classified as Long Term English Learners. How might we reduce the number of students at risk of becoming Long Term English Learners? The specific aim of the study was to determine the impact of academic oral language strategies on English Learners.
This literature review identified the seminal authors on Long Term English Learners and analyzed existing peer-reviewed literature on the most effective strategies for academic oral language acquisition for English Learners. The following themes were identified and discussed: evidence-based instructional strategies, Vocabulary, Oral language skills, close reading, Project GLAD strategies for oral language, and the need for specialized instruction.
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